R U OK Day on 12 September marks the beginning of an important conversation – it’s when we reach out to people we know or care about to check in on their mental health. Simply asking R U OK? can give someone a lifeline to start talking. This seemingly small gesture is so powerful, it can save a life.

A recent survey released by Headspace and the National Union of Students revealed that:

  • 83.2% of Australian tertiary students have felt stressed
  • 79% felt anxious
  • 35.4% have had thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Your VU community is here for you

At VU and VU Polytechnic, we offer a range of services to help you cope with everything from uni and financial stresses, to more critical issues in your personal life.

If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or just need someone to talk to, please access our counselling services, or the VU Psychology Clinic, which offers group and individual sessions for people of all ages.

Share your thoughts with a friend or classmate, or chat to a lecturer – they’re trained to help or refer you to other health services.

We have counsellors and psychologists available, and encourage you to chat to your friends and lecturers.

Where to turn in a crisis

Sometimes you can't make it to campus, you really need to talk after hours or you prefer to keep your anonymity.

Consider one of the following free phone lines or chat online:

  • Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support, 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline provides counselling and referrals for people aged 5-25 years, 1800 55 1800
  • Beyondblue can help with anxiety, depression and suicide prevention 1300 22 4636
  • 1800 Respect offers counselling on sexual assault and family violence, 1800 737 732
  • The R U OK?: Help in a crisis web page offers a full range of services available to you.

As a student, self care is critical. Check out some other free and inexpensive ways VU takes care of you.

Chat online or speak to a professional who can help.

How you can help a friend

It can be a difficult conversation to start, but the gentle approach is often the best approach. The R U OK? website offers some great tips on how and when to ask, how to respond when you get ‘push-back’ and how to encourage and be supportive. It’s also key to trust your gut – if something doesn’t seem right or you’re noticing changes in someone, listen to your intuition.

Check out the services on the R U OK?: Help in a crisis web page and try to best equip yourself with some extra tools to help.

If you’re worried someone might be suicidal, contact Lifeline (13 11 14) for crisis support. If life is in danger, call 000.

Check in with your friends, family and fellow humans!