A range of behaviours may become a cause for concern.

This may include people dealing with grief and loss, alcohol and drug abuse or dependence, relationship breakdown, or homelessness. These may become concerning behaviours if they significantly affect you or someone else at the University.

What to do

If you believe someone is at immediate risk of harm you should call for help as soon as possible.

Off campus

  • Victoria Police & Ambulance: 000

On campus

  • Security: +61 3 9919 6666

If you have concerns for someone and there is no immediate risk of harm, you can consult with support services.

Off campus

  • DirectLine - counselling, information and referral service for alcohol and drug related concerns - 1800 888 236
  • Lifeline - 24/7 phone or online crisis support and advice service: 13 11 14
  • Ask Izzy - online directory of homeless help

On campus

Supporting someone with alcohol or drug problems

If you or someone you know experiences behavioural concerns you should seek professional support.

Some things to keep in mind when supporting someone with alcohol or drug problems:

  • If the person is in a dangerous alcohol or drug affected state contact emergency services (000).
  • Approach the person with your concerns.
  • Express your concerns non-judgementally.
  • Ask the person about their use, rather than make assumptions.
  • Focus the conversation on the person’s behaviour, rather than their character.
  • Use 'I' rather than 'you' statements to express your feelings.
  • Do not criticise the person or use labels like 'addict'.
  • Do not feel guilty or responsible if the person does not want to make a change.
  • Discuss the person's options for professional help if they want it.
  • Encourage the person to find a health professional they are comfortable with.
  • Encourage the person to seek support from other friends and family.
  • If the person does not wish to change, support them but do not support their drug use.
  • Inform the person about self-help options.

Further help supporting someone with behavioural concerns related to drugs or alcohol:

Statistics about substance abuse

  • 1 in 20 Australians have an addiction or substance abuse problem
  • 15% of Australians smoke daily
  • 3 million Australians use illegal drugs every year

Signs of substance abuse

  • Regularly taking more than intended
  • Negative impact on work, home or school
  • Regularly trying to cut down or stop
  • Tolerance: need more to get the same effect
  • Withdrawal: feel ill when not using
  • Cravings or desire for the substance

Impact of substance abuse

  • Major cause of mental illness
  • Alcohol and drug abuse leads to higher risk of mental illness
  • Higher risk of violence, suicide, heart disease, diabetes, and malnutrition

Large infographic: substance abuse

Developer by Safer Community, Victoria University

Sources: Health Direct, 2017; Mind Health Connect, 2014.

Statistics about homelessness

  • On any night in Australian 1 in 200 people are homeless
  • Australians of all ages are homeless, including children under 12 years of age
  • 15% of homeless are 19-24 years of age

Where do they stay

  • 1% in other temporary lodging
  • 6% in improvised dwelling/sleeping out
  • 17% staying temporarily at another house
  • 17% in boarding homes
  • 20% in supported accommodation for homeless
  • 39% in severely overcrowded dwellings

Causes of homelessness

  • 24% Family violence
  • 20% Finances
  • 16% Housing crisis
  • 11% Poor dwelling
  • 8% Relationships
  • 4% Health
  • 17% Other

Impact of homelessness

Experience trauma, diminished opportunities, social exclusion, poor nutrition, poor medical care, abuse and drug use.

Large inforgraphic: Homelessness

Developed by Safer Community, Victoria University

Sources: Homelessness Australia, 2016; Kids Helpline, 2012.

Other concerning behaviours resources

Be informed about other concerning behaviours including grief and loss, alcohol and drug abuse or dependence, relationship breakdown, or homelessness.

External resources

University resources