Stay Healthy

What do we know about university students?

We already know from previous research in this area that when people avoid seeking help for stress and depressive symptoms, symptoms can become worse.

Although a range of factors increases an individual’s vulnerability to depression, such as genetic predisposition, personality factors, and childhood trauma (Karaffa & Hancock, 2019; Rotenstein et al., 2016), stress research has consistently found that chronic stress (de Alencar Fontes et al., 2019; Yang et al., 2015) and daily stress exposure (Brose, Wichers, & Kuppens, 2017) are positively related to depressive symptoms.

Research has also found that perceived stress associated with education-related stressors predict depressive symptoms in university students (Killinger et al., 2017; Newcomb-Anjo, Villemaire-Krajden, Takefman, & Barker, 2017).

Research has found that university students, in general, are reluctant to seek help for mental health problems.

Australian research has found that only 39% of university students with high levels of psychological distress had sought professional help (Stallman & Shochet, 2009), and a study of 1,139 veterinary, medical, and dentistry students at a university in England found that only 21% of students with severe depressive symptoms had accessed professional help (Knipe et al., 2018). Untreated mental health concerns can lead to an exacerbation of symptoms, and have significant consequences for students, including reduced university attendance and academic performance, a heightened risk of dropping out, relationship difficulties and physical health problems (Browne et al., 2017; Larcombe et al., 2016; McArthur, Andrews, Brand, & Hazel, 2017). A study of 647 Australian law students found that perceived stress related to academic demands predicted depressive symptoms in students (Bergin & Pakenham, 2015).

This is despite the fact that most universities in Australia offer free counselling, disability support, and medical services to students (Rickwood et al., 2016), and research consistently demonstrates the efficacy of psychological interventions in reducing stress (Yusufov, Nicoloro-SantaBarbara, Grey, Moyer, & Lobel, 2019) and depression (Huang, Tigatu, Smail-Crevier, Zhang, & Wang, 2018) among university students.

Reasons to Seek Help for Study Related Stress
  • Seeking instrumental and emotional support for stress is an important component of coping (McArthur et al., 2019), and the benefits of seeking help from a professional (i.e., psychologist) are well established (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2009; Corrigan, 2004; Perry et al., 2014).
  • There are effective psychological interventions to reduce perceived stress in university students, including social support interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and coping skills training (Yusufov, Nicoloro-SantaBarbara, Grey, Moyer, & Lobel, 2019).
  • A meta-analytic review of psychological interventions to decrease common mental health problems found moderate effect sizes for cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness-related interventions in reducing depression among college students (Huang, Tigatu, Smail-Crevier, Zhang, & Wang, 2018).

Mental Health Options

Two experienced mental health practitioners that can help if you need it

Ms Murial Burgel

Murial is an experienced psychologist with an interest in helping students decrease stress and achieve their best. Murial has worked in both private practice and employment assistance areas. Learn More…

Mr Michael Riley

Since 2001, it has been my absolute pleasure to assist clients to achieve personal and professional breakthroughs, that have resulted in transformations of self-awareness and inner fulfilment. Learn More…

If this website has raised questions for you, you are encouraged to contact one or more of the following groups if you feel that you need support.

Beyond Blue, you can call them at ph. 1300 22 4646.

Please contact your institutions’ student counselling service.

You may also wish to speak to a psychologist, your treating doctor or general practitioner.

Lifeline (crisis line for emergencies) You can call them at 13 11 14.

Contact us