Mental Health and Wellness
The University is committed to enhancing student access, participation and success in higher education and embracing the diversity of the communities we serve. We acknowledge our responsibility to support mental health and wellness as part of our core business.
The JCU Mental Health and Wellness Strategy (2022-2026) has been designed in collaboration with students, staff and stakeholders. It presents an integrated model which:
- Recognises diversity, voice, and reconciliation
- Develops student and staff agency
- Supports actions and commitments that are culturally informed, sustainable, and connected to community.
The Strategy is based on three intersecting initiatives:
Provide education and policy, early recognition and action, promote self-care, and support help-seeking behaviours and capacity building for positive mental health.
Foster a supportive and inclusive culture and environment addressing bullying and risks of suicide/harm while increasing protective factors to combat stigma and support positive mental health.
Provide access to health and wellness support and resources that are flexible and intentional, and offer timely and respectful crisis responses.
Mental health is about wellness, rather than illness. Having social connections, good personal relationships and being part of a community are vital to maintaining good mental health and wellness.
Your mental health and wellness
Good mental health is when:
- You can work and study to your full potential
- You actively connect and participate with family, friends and your community
- You undertake enjoyable activities
- You are coping with everyday stressors, and
- You are able to bounce back reasonably quickly from unexpected challenges and changes.
We understand that university life is both exciting and stressful, so JCU has a range of people and services to support you.
Successful students know how and where to find help:
Resources for students
We are working to create a supportive and inclusive University culture to promote better mental health and wellness. Help and support services are available to all students.
Student Equity and Wellbeing has support services to assist you with your physical and mental health, and emotional, personal, and spiritual needs.
JCU's onsite and online counselling and wellbeing service is free and confidential; you do not need to be in a crisis or dealing with a serious problem to access a counsellor. Counsellors can assist you to build skills and resilience to manage issues such as low mood and exam stress. We offer brief intervention support of up to 10 sessions per student.
You can check the resources on our wellness page to gauge your current emotional and physical wellbeing, and also practice mindfulness as a technique to enjoy learning using a different approach.
JCU's Equity Officers are trained staff who you should contact if you have been affected by discrimination, harassment, or bullying.
The JCU Multifaith Chaplaincy Centre is a free service provided by the University in partnership with local Faith communities. There are opportunities to meet personally with the Chaplain for pastoral care, to use the facilities for personal reflection and prayer, or to arrange a group activites for special occasions.
The staff at the Student Centre are able to help you with enrolment, important dates and timetables, student forms, academic calendars, advice about fees and financial support, academic transcripts, graduation, and much more. Think of the Student Centre as your 'one stop shop' - if you are unsure where to go, or who to go to for help, they will assist you.
Other useful resources to help you organise your university experience:
IT essentials for students
Living on campus
The JCU Student Assocation (JCUSA) offers free services to help you negotiate university life. For example, the JCUSA employs Student Advocates who provide free information, advocacy and referral on a range of issues, including housing and accommodation, academic support, appeals, interpreting University policies and procedures, and academic integrity.
The JCUSA also arranges events and activites and helps you to organise clubs and societies so you can keep physically and mentally fit and meet other students with similar interests.
For more information please visit: JCU Student Association
JCU Singapore Students - please contact a student advisor at JCUS by emailing JCUSprogressions@jcu.edu.au
All students at JCU are entitled to the best possible learning experience. The Learning Centre provides access to academic support at no additional cost. If you are feeling anxious about your studies and your assignments, or just want to ask a couple of questions, then reach out to our expert staff in the Learning Centre. If you are on campus you will find the Learning Centres are based in the library (Cairns and Townsville).
Look at our resources for Learning online - they include time management, mindfulness, and creating a positive study environment. Also find time to visit the Learning Centre's full list of learning resources which include active learning, English and Maths refreshers, academic writing, statistics, assignments, and more.
If you are in your first year of study, or just feeling a bit rusty, we have a list of tips to help you.
Assignments and exams - set yourself up for success
Study smarter by checking how the library can offer support with your studies, such as finding, evaluating and referencing sources. The library has created a series of Guides that you can read on or off campus. There are Guides for different subjects and subject codes, as well as useful ‘How to guides’ to help you develop skills in literature reviews, EndNote, and more.
We know stress levels tend to increase at examination time, so we have collated exam resources which explain the different types of exams and how we can help you. Also see: Online exams.
The Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC) has facilities on the Townsville and Cairns campuses, such as dedicated meeting spaces, air-conditioned computer labs, printers, and photocopiers. Kitchen facilities including a microwave, toaster, and fridge are available for students to use. The Centre provides tea, coffee and healthy snacks.
The IERC has its own student services team to help you succeed in your studies and progress through your degree with support from academic and pastoral advisors. are available for all our students, whether you are studying in Cairns or Townsville, at a regional study centre, or as an off-campus (external) student.
Our Indigenous Student Support Advisors provide mentoring, encouragement and a safe environment, and can help you source further information such as:
- Accommodation options
- Managing finances, including contacting Centrelink
- Applying for scholarships
- Working through stress and anxiety
- Maintaining personal health and wellbeing
- Accessing services on campus, and
- Staying focused on your passion and direction.
You can also visit 13YARN if you are going through a tough time and feel like having a yarn. Talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter. T: 13 92 76
JCU is proud is committed to developing and maintaining a safe, positive, supportive and inclusive environment for our LGBTQIA+ community of students and staff.
You can interact with sexually and gender diverse students and allies, or help support diversity and inclusiveness at JCU by joining the JCU Pride Alliance Facebook group. These is also a Cairns LGBT Alliance Facebook group.
The JCU Student Association (JCUSA) has a Queer Officer who provides support and services, you should contact the JCUSA for further information.
JCU is currently establishing rainbow lounges on our Cairns and Townsville campuses.
- PFlag is a voluntary group of parents whose aim is to assist other families who have lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, intersex and queer members to understand and care for each other where needed - PFlag+ Cairns Facebook, PFlag Brisbane.
- Headspace - resources for LGBTQI+ community
- Diverse Voices - LGBTIQ+ peer to peer telephone, web chat and referral service.
- LGBTQIA+ Health Australia
- See It's pronounced METRO sexual, a website offering a list of LGBTQ+ vocabulary definitions
- Supporting gender diversity at JCU
- The Australian Government's Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender apply to all Australian Government departments and agencies that maintain personal records (including employee records), and/or collect sex and/or gender information.
Moving to a new country and finding your way around university can be daunting. As an international student you can benefit from tailored International support services, such as:
- Overseas Student Health Cover
- Regular social events to help you develop friendships with other students, meet staff, and enhance your campus experience
- International student mentor programs to help you settle into life and study in Australia.
The Sonder App can be used if you have any issues or concerns with wellbeing, safety, medical needs, or mental health. You will be provided with further information about the Sonder service, including how to set up an account, as part of the JCU International Student Orientation Program.
Assistance in emergencies via the after-hours student assistance hotline and Sonder 24/7 safety app
JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas (07) 4781 5255 International: +61 7 4781 5255 Townsville location: Student Centre, Building 134 (Map)
JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield (07) 4232 1000 International: +61 7 4232 1000 Cairns location: Student Centre, Building A1 (Map)
Freecall within Australia 1800 246 446
Other helpful resources:
Visit this page if English is not your first language and you need study assistance.
JCU strongly supports the rights of all people who wish to pursue a university education, and our courses are designed to promote access and success for all learners.
If you have a disability or ongoing health condition, (including a mental health condition), please contact AccessAbility Services as soon as possible to discuss an Access Plan. We can also help you if you have a temporary health condition or disability, such as an injury that is preventing you from taking part in certain activities and aspects of your course or subject. Disclosure can be made to the University at any time during your studies.
For more information visit AccessAbility
Resources for staff
JCU undertakes to promote mentally healthy workplaces and an ethic of care as outlined in the JCU Mental Health and Wellness Strategy (2022-2026).
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) aligns with JCU’s goal for a proactive, healthy and safe workplace culture. It provides professional, confidential counselling and support 24/7, and is free to eligible staff and their immediate family members.
The program is managed by independent company LifeWorks. LifeWorks counsellors are qualified, experienced professionals who have extensive training in counselling and workplace consulting. The EAP can be accessed from the JCU staff page (log-in required for EAP)
LifeWorks T: 1800 604 640
Strong leadership raises awareness around accessing mental health and wellness support resources for staff and students, while also destigmatising the need to seek mental health support. Leadership models ensure wellbeing on multiple levels, including the emotional, physical, academic, social, and financial dimensions. The Staff Learning Hub will become a ‘one stop shop’ to manage all training related to your role.
Staff Learning Hub User Guide
Employee professional development website
The Mental Health Task Force (previously the Steering Committee) aims to implement immediate, medium, and long-term actions that respond to identified gaps and needs to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff, and provide a safe, inclusive and respectful work and learning community.
Specifically, the Taskforce monitors the development and delivery of implementation activities listed in the JCU Mental Health and Wellness Strategy 2022-2026. Regular monitoring, evaluation, and reporting to the relevant management and governance committees will be undertaken by the Taskforce.
Universities have an important responsibility to respond to suicide in a safe and evidence-informed way so the health and safety of the university community is protected. See: Toolkit for Australian Universities (Universities Australia).
Responding to suicide risk (JCU)
Acute Care Team (Queensland Health)
Warning signs and support (Queensland Health)
JCU counselling services
JCU Safety and Wellbeing
First Year Experience (includes contacts, policies and guidelines)
Using data to improve the student experience (pdf).
Black Dog Institute - education and services
Headspace - resources for professionals and teachers
Mental health services
Contact emergency services on 000 if you, or someone you know, are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others.
Beyond Blue provides information and support for anxiety, depression, and suicide prevention for everyone in Australia, through a free telephone and online counselling service which is open 24/7.
T: 1300 224 636
Online chat support service - one-on-one mental health help from qualified counsellors. Most chats last for around 20 minutes.
We can also help you find the right mental health services for you if you need extra support.
Some of Beyond Blue's other resources include:
This simple checklist asks you to reflect on your feelings over the past four weeks.
Learn about anxiety (the most common mental health condition in Australia), and depression.
Anyone in Australia can contact a trained crisis supporter any time of the day or night:
Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support:
T: 13 11 14
Lifeline crisis online chat
There is also a 24/7 text service at 0477 13 11 14.
Headspace aims to help young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health), and provides alcohol and other drug services.
As well as their in-person centres, Headspace has a range of online and phone-based services for young people. Access services, information and support with help always at hand. Log in to chat to other people like you or get 1-on-1 direct support with a clinician.
Resources for LGBTQI+ community
Reach Out is an online mental health service for young people (aged 18-25).
You can connect with peer workers in a safe environment. All peer workers have undergone ReachOut training and have expertise in facilitating safe, respectful, non-judgmental conversations.
Also see tools and apps to help you look after your health and wellbeing.
SANE offers services to people with complex mental health issues, including trauma.
T: 1800 187 263
Factsheets and guides - these resources include information about mental health conditions (diagnosis and treatments), dealing with a crisis, and better living.
MensLine Australia provides free telephone and online support 24/7 for men who are experiencing family and relationship issues, including relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, parenting, family violence, suicide prevention, and emotional wellbeing.
T: 1300 78 99 78
All staff are qualified professional counsellors, social workers or psychologists, who are trained to listen, understand you, and help you find ways to feel better.
Black Dog Institute provides mental health support and apps.
Try Headgear (mental muscle), or download fact sheets about wellbeing, anxiety, stress, depression, and bipolar disorder.
The Black Dog Institute offers a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app (iBobbly) specifically for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Queensland Health has useful resources and mental health initiatives.
Online activities for stronger mental wellbeing
Suicide Call Back Service is a national 24/7 telehealth provider that offers free professional phone and online counselling for people living in Australia.
You do not require a medical referral to initiate contact. This means you can access free professional counselling anywhere, at a time that is convenient to you.
T: 1300 659 467
Are you worried about someone?
Crisis support: Contact emergency services on 000 if you, or someone you know, are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others.