Mental health awareness

We all need to be aware of our mental health. It gives you the ability to feel well, think rationally and relate to others. You may have a mental health condition when you lose that ability for an extended period of time. Mental health disorders affect all ages, genders, ethnicities, social backgrounds. They can be mild or severe. They're medical conditions and require treatment.

Identifying signs

We all experience ups and downs. When the downs impact on your quality of life, you may have a mental health condition. Symptoms differ from person to person but manifest in important changes to your mood, thinking and behaviour.

Examples include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and addictive behaviours.

Coping with stressful times and environments

University is a naturally stressful environment. Studying requires constant intellectual effort and exams are testing your resilience as much as your knowledge. If you're a young adult, you may be worrying about the impact of political and social conflicts, climate change or financial uncertainty for the first time. Built-up stress can push you past your line of vulnerability.

Health and wellbeing chart

It's not the dirty cup left in the sink that makes you snap, it's all the other stuff.

Your ability to cope with the negative things in life depends on your general wellbeing. Looking after your physical, mental, spiritual and social health will help you be more resilient by pushing your line of vulnerability higher.

Substance use affects the chemistry of your brain. The way it makes you feel and behave can mimic signs of mental distress.

Make informed choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol

Going through major life events

Periods of severe mental distress can be triggered by loss or trauma. The pain they cause never really disappears but becomes manageable over time. Acknowledging your pain and asking for or accepting help from friends and whānau will make a difference.

The role of social wellbeing

Getting better

Most mental health disorders don’t disappear by themselves. They may be caused by physical, genetic or exterior factors that you have no control over. However, people with mental illnesses can recover and live long and healthy lives. You may need therapy, medical treatment or a long-term management plan. Talk to a medical professional as soon as you can.

AUT offers free counselling services and mental health support to all students based in New Zealand

Letting the small things do their thing

When you're experiencing trauma, being told to connect with others or go for a walk may feel like it's diminishing what you’re going through. Simple things won’t solve big problems but you can’t always wait for major changes to happen to start healing. Small steps are good, as long as they go in the right direction.

Having a purpose

A life worth living is a life with a purpose. Set out your goals, some big and some small, that can be achieved in the short and long term. Having a sense of achievement will help build your resilience.

Counselling and mental health support

Counselling and mental health support

Free professional service for students based in New Zealand
 The Low Down

The Low Down

A space created with rangatahi for rangatahi
 Small steps

Small steps

Interactive tools to help with feelings of anxiety, stress or low mood

Bright Side
Resilience During Global Change programme

Green Oceans

Strengthen your resilience during a time of uncertainty, gain a deeper understanding of what contributes to the balance and displacement of your health during a pandemic, and what you can do to support yourself.

Learn more