First Steps


So, you think you need some help for your mental health?

Firstly, well done. Coming to this realisation is often the hardest part. Now for the next bit - actually finding support services that help you. 

Getting help for your mental health can be challenging, confusing, and completely overwhelming. Starting the process often feels impossible. But don’t stress, we’re going to break it down for you and hopefully make it a little easier to get started. 

First things first… 

Check in with yourself; What is it that you need right now? Are you at a crisis point? If you are feeling unsafe or at risk of harm, please seek support immediately. If you are in danger, dial triple zero (000). If you need to speak to someone right now, you can call any of these numbers:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline (best for 5-25 year olds): 1800 55 1800

Next steps...

Try and think about whether there is someone in your life that you trust enough to talk to about how you are feeling. While this is not a substitute for professional mental health care, it helps to have someone around who knows what’s going on and can provide short-term support. Whether this is a friend, partner, or trusted adult, being open with someone can help you feel a bit less alone and make everything feel a bit less overwhelming! 

Of course, talking to someone you know might not be possible or you might not feel ready yet - and that is absolutely ok! If you want to talk to someone else, even anonymously, there are lots of online forums or chat services you can reach out to - they may even be able to help you find professional care. Check these out:

Finding help...

There are lots of different mental health support services and resources out there and it’s hard to know what might help you. For example, you might benefit from one-on-one talk therapy (either face-to-face or telehealth) with a Psychologist. There are usually costs involved in this, but rebates are available via Medicare with a Mental Health Care Plan. A psychologist can help you work through specific issues you are experiencing and deliver evidence-based therapy - such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). If you think seeing a psychologist is right for you, the first step is to book a Mental Health Care Plan appointment with a General Practitioner (GP). Check out our other blog posts to find out how to get a Mental Health Care Plan and talk to your GP about your mental health. 

Alternatively, there are lots of free digital and online resources available. These include phone, email and webchat support lines, self-guided online courses, digital apps, and peer support forums. Our Toolkit can guide you to the right online services. Just remember that, while self-guided resources are good starting points to build understanding, they should not supplement or replace individual therapy. 

The journey to developing a mental health support system might not be a linear one. Everyone is different, and what works for someone else might not be what works for you! It may take a few tries to find the right professionals for you. If the first GPs, psychologists or other professionals you reach out to don’t feel quite right - that is totally ok, and very normal. Don’t be afraid to keep trying until you find what is best for you. Remember; it is ok to struggle with your mental health, and there is no shame in needing support.

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