There are some excellent resources and programs designed to help students who are distressed. Some have been developed with students in mind, others have been developed for teachers or friends who have concerns. Take some time to explore each resource below, as they offer different strategies and approaches to responding to students.

Resources from University Counselling Services

Several Australian university CAPS programs have developed specific resources to advise their academic teaching staff about how best to respond to students in distress. Some examples of publicly available web resources produced by universities are presented in the table below.

University Name & Link to resource
Australian National University Guidelines for staff: Supporting students in distress
Griffith University Responding to incidents
Macquarie University Dealing with a student in distress
Monash University Dealing with students in a crisis
Queensland University of Technology I have a troubled student, what can I do?
University of Adelaide Responding to distressed students: a guide for staff
University of Canberra Something is not quite right: are you concerned about a student?
University of Melbourne Services for staff
University of Newcastle Students in distress
University of New South Wales Recognising and managing stress
University of New South Wales What can you do?
University of Notre Dame How to talk to someone who is distressed
University of Queensland How to support distressed students
University of South Australia Referring students to student services
University of the Sunshine Coast Supporting students in distress
University of Sydney Information for staff
University of Sydney Responding to students in distress
University of Sydney Supporting students in distress: Quick reference guide
University of Western Sydney Concerning or distressing behaviours
University of Western Sydney, in collaboration with University of Melbourne Supporting the Staff who Support Students
University of Western Australia How to respond
(Final section of webpage: Common Mental Health Issues)
Victoria University Staff support & referring students (includes link to procedures for psychological emergencies, critical incidents, and non-immediate mental health concerns)

Useful Online Resources 

Below are some useful online resources, developed outside of the university context, that offer useful advice and resources for coping with and responding to distress.

This website has five modules that address student mental health in the context of secondary schools. Although it is designed with secondary school in mind, the resources for teachers have direct application to academic teachers. The module that the link above leads to discusses strategies for responding to students in distress. There are other modules throughout MindMatters that support the ideas introduced throughout the learning modules of this website.

A resource with information about mental health and wellbeing, developed by the Australian government. The website provides lists of resources and links to organisations for you (self referral) or someone else (you can filter for different life stages), or for a medical professional. The resources are filtered by quick surveys: (a) who is the information for? (you personally, you professionally, or someone else); (b) a mood monitor, with feedback and resources for things that aren’t going so well for you; a brief survey about your mood and general concerns (literally 3 questions). If you don’t want to fill in a questionnaire to filter your search, you can find it via links across the top of the homepage: psychopathological illnesses, wellbeing, life stages, life circumstances (e.g., accidents, assaults, unemployment), and an A-Z index.

This app is designed to help you plan a conversation with someone that you are worried about (in this context, a student, but it is also helpful for planning a conversation with a friend or family member). The app includes advice and guidance on decisions that you make, and provides space for you to ‘report back’ on how the conversation went.

MoodGym is a website designed to teach people to identify and address thoughts and behaviours related to depression and anxiety. It has five modules, each of which include brief questionnaires, checklists, vignettes, and self-monitoring tools. MoodGym is grounded in cognitive behaviour therapy and relationship therapy, both of which have been shown to improve people’s ability to overcome depression, anxiety, and distress.

This phone app is also designed to help people identify and address their negative thoughts by thinking about how their thoughts affect their feelings. It has received high acclaim, it is very simple to navigate and use, and it takes less time to work through than MoodGym. But – it doesn’t have the same level of psycho-education as MoodGym, it costs $5, and it is ONLY for Apple iPhones.

Module Evaluation

Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
1. The information in this module was useful  5 4 3 2 1
2. I will use the information to inform my teaching practice or professional work  5 4 3 2 1
3. I feel more confident to address issues related to student mental wellbeing  5 4 3 2 1
4. I intend to recommend this website to colleagues  5 4 3 2 1