Counselling Services

You do not need to be in crisis or dealing with a serious problem to access a counsellor.

Counselling and Wellbeing Services

JCU Counselling and Wellbeing Service is a free and confidential service provided to students currently enrolled and actively engaged at JCU Australia. The Service is provided by highly qualified Counsellors with backgrounds and experience in Psychology, Social Work, Counselling and Occupational Therapy.

JCU Counselling and Wellbeing Service offers brief-intervention support, up to ten sessions per student. Appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9am to 3pm and can be offered by phone, Zoom (online video call software) or face to face on either the JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield or JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas. Please note there are limitations to the support we can offer to students located off-shore.

PLEASE READ
NEW CLIENTS: If you are seeking an appointment and you have not engaged with Counselling and Wellbeing Services in the last 6 months, or at all, please click the New Client Bookings button below.
EXISTING CLIENTS: If you have engaged with Counselling & Wellbeing Services within the last 6 months, or if you are unsure, please contact us directly. For contact details please click the Existing Client Bookings button below.

Counsellors can assist you to build the skills and resilience to manage a variety of issues; Counsellors use short term counselling models, which can assist you with a variety of issues including:

  • Low mood
  • Stress
  • Relationships
  • Procrastination
  • Loss and grief
  • Life crises and traumas
  • Study and academic issues
  • Mental health

Counsellors can help you explore alternatives so you can make the best possible decisions for yourself. They can suggest relevant resources and tools that may be of use to you. They are knowledgeable about university processes, such as special consideration, and can refer you internally to other JCU services. There are also some presenting issues that require specialist support; in this case, your Counsellor will refer you to your GP or an external provider to meet your individual support needs.

Your first interaction with our Service may be through a Student Information and Support Officer who will ask you a number of questions to ensure we are the best service for you and ascertain the type of inquiry. They may suggest other appropriate options for you, including other services on campus, visiting your local doctor or contacting a relevant service in the community.

If you are new to Counselling and Wellbeing, or you haven’t connected with the Service in the last six months, your first interaction with a Counsellor will be via a phone intake call. Your intake call will take up to 25 minutes and allow you and the Counsellor to identify how our Service may be able to support you, appropriate internal or external referrals and the provision of information and resources for your individual needs.

If the outcome of your intake phone call is a referral to one of our Counsellors, you will be assigned a Counsellor and will be able to access up to ten counselling sessions. Counselling sessions are up to 50 minutes in duration and can be offered by phone, Zoom or face to face.

We maintain confidentiality and will not disclose the information you provide your Counsellor without your permission, unless law requires us or there are compelling reasons such as significant risk to yourself or someone else. If you are unsure about this or have further questions about confidentiality, please discuss with our Student Information and Support Officer or your Counsellor. The JCU Counselling and Wellbeing Service operations according to the Australian Psychological Society (APS) Code of Ethics. To find a copy of our Service Management and Confidentiality statement please click here.

To help us provide the best services to all our students, please keep track of your appointments and make sure you're aware of the information below.

Appointment confirmation and reminders: you will receive an email to your JCU email when an appointment is booked confirming the date, time and location of the appointment (phone, Zoom or face to face). You will also receive a reminder email two days prior to your appointment with similar details. If at any point you realise you are no longer able to attend your appointment, please contact the Student Equity and Wellbeing Unit to cancel or reschedule.

Notice of cancellation: if you fail to attend an appointment, it's likely that you will have denied another student the opportunity to see a counsellor. Let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule. If you don't provide 24 hours’ notice of cancellation, you will be considered to have missed your appointment. Please note that repeated absenteeism from booked appointments may impact on our capacity to reschedule further appointments.

Late arrivals: if you arrive later than 10 minutes after the start of your appointment, we will consider you to have missed your appointment. Your session may be given to another student. For phone or Zoom appointments, the Counsellor will attempt to contact you twice. If you are likely to be late for your appointment please contact the Student Equity and Wellbeing Unit to discuss.

Sometimes things get difficult. If you are thinking about asking for an extension or special consideration for an assessment item, speak directly to your lecturer as soon as possible to let them know there is an issue. The issue could be resolved at this point.

Sometimes your lecturer may ask you to provide supporting documentation or evidence of your circumstances. In this situation it is best to seek supporting documentation from a professional practitioner who has been seeing you for a period of time (i.e. your GP or external mental health support), or provide any other documentation that shows evidence of your circumstances.

A JCU Counsellor can only provide a Counsellor’s certificate / letter to students who:

  • Have an ongoing therapeutic relationship with the JCU Counselling and Wellbeing Service
  • During consultation are assessed by a Counsellor to have sufficient need for supporting documentation
  • Are assessed by a Counsellor with an acute and/or serious condition (students may be linked into an appropriate health care provider who will be able to provide further documentation)

For more specific information about exam deferrals and special consideration see Special Consideration

JCU Counselling and Wellbeing Service operates on an appointment-based system and we are not always able to manage urgent requests immediately. We are also not a crisis support service. If you are in life-critical need of assistance please contact 000 (Police, Fire and Ambulance). If it is not life-threatening but you require urgent support (including after hours support) please consider contacting one of the community services below.

  • Suicide Call-back Service 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  • QLD Health Acute Care Team 1300MH (1300 64 2255)
  • Present to your nearest emergency unit at your local hospital.
  • Cairns Crisis Support Space - 1300 MHCALL (1300 642255), located at the Cairns Hospital (opening hours 3pm-8pm, Thursday-Monday)
  • Townsville Head to Health – 1800 595 212 or drop in 32 Walker St, Townsville (opening hours 10am-8:30pm Monday-Friday, 12pm-8.30pm weekends and public holidays)
  • Wadda Mooli Space – 07 4433 3912, or present to the Townsville University Hospital Emergency Department and request the service (opening hours 12.45pm-9.30pm, 7 days a week)

Group Programs and Workshops

Why Choose Mental Health First Aid?

1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health problem in any given year. This means it is highly likely that we all have friends, family members or colleagues who have experienced or are experiencing a mental health problem - either we know it or not. Choose from a range of evidence-based core and specialised courses to empower and mobilise adults with the knowledge, skills and confidence to offer support to another adult experiencing an emerging or worsening mental health problem.

JCU Wellbeing currently offers three accredited Mental Health First Aid courses to JCU staff and students. Please note that prices are subject to change, and workshop dates for 2024 will be confirmed shortly.
Please visit this page in January 2024 for more details.

Standard Mental Health First Aid Course (Staff and student courses available)

The 2 day Standard Mental Health First Aid course teaches participants how to provide initial support to someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. Participants will learn how to recognise the early warning signs of mental health problems in adults, how to navigate difficult conversations and provide initial support, where and how to get professional help, what sort of help has been shown by research to be effective, and how to provide mental health first aid in a crisis situation. Topics covered in this course include depression, suicide, anxiety, panic attacks, traumatic events, psychosis and substance use. Please consider your wellbeing while booking this course, and let us know in advance if you have any concerns. Upon completion of this course and a post-course quiz, participants will gain a 3 year accreditation as a Mental Health First Aider. To find out more about this course, go to Standard Mental Health First Aid - Mental Health First Aid Australia (mhfa.com.au)

Duration 2 days (9am - 5pm both days)
Location Face to face at the JCU Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus and Cairns Nguma-bada campus
Cost Staff:  $100 each
Students:  free - this course is paid for by JCU on behalf of students

Next Course Dates:

  • 4 - 5 April 2024, 9am - 5pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas - Staff only
  • 17 - 18 June 2024, 9am - 5pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas - Staff only
  • 19 - 20 June 2024, 8.30am - 4.30pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield - Staff and students
  • 18 - 19 November 2024, 8.30am - 4.30pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield - Staff only
  • 20 - 21 November 2024, 9am - 5pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas - Staff only

Staff can register to attend here and students can register via emailing the Centre for Education and Enhancement Administration team at [email protected]

Standard Mental Health First Aid Refresher Course (staff and student courses available)

This half day course allows current Mental Health First Aiders to learn about the latest research in the mental health field, work through complex mental health first aid interactions, and practice their mental health first aid skills across a range of mental health problems and mental health crisis situations. Participants can complete a short assessment at the end of a course to extend their Mental Health First Aid Accreditation for a further 3 years.
Please Note: Participants must have completed the 2 day Standard MHFA course within the past 3 years to be eligible for this course. To check your accreditation expiration date, please contact [email protected].
To find out more about this course, go to Refresher Courses - Mental Health First Aid Australia (mhfa.com.au)

Duration 4 hours
Location Face to face at the JCU Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus and Cairns Nguma-bada campus
Cost Staff:  $50 each
Students:  free - this course is paid for by JCU on behalf of students

Next Course Dates:

  • 16 July 2024, 9am - 3pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield - Staff and students
  • 27 August 2024, 9am - 2pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas - Staff and students
  • 26 September 2024,  9am - 2pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas - Staff and students
  • Staff can register to attend here and students can register via emailing the Centre for Education and Enhancement Administration team at [email protected]

Tertiary Mental Health First Aid Course (students only)

The Standard Mental Health First Aid for Tertiary Students course teaches students how to provide initial support to another adult who may be experiencing a mental health problem or mental health crisis, until professional help is received or the crisis resolves. Students learn about the signs and symptoms of common mental health problems in students and other adults, how to recognise and respond to an emerging or worsening mental health problem, and the treatments and supports available. Common mental health problems discussed in this course include depression, suicide, anxiety, panic attacks, eating disorders, psychosis and substance use. Using a practical, evidence-based action plan, students learn how to approach someone they are concerned about and initiate a conversation about those concerns. Students also learn how to offer initial support and information and how to encourage the person to seek professional help or other supports. Please consider your wellbeing while booking this course, and let us know in advance if you have any concerns. Upon completion of this course and a post-course quiz, participants will gain a 3 year accreditation as a Mental Health First Aider. To find out more about this course, go to Standard Mental Health First Aid for Tertiary Students  - Mental Health First Aid Australia (mhfa.com.au)

Duration 12 hours total (5-7 hours online followed by a 5 hour face to face session)
Location 1st component; self-paced eLearning online
2nd component; face to face at the JCU Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus and Cairns Nguma-bada campus
Cost free - this course is paid for by JCU on behalf of students

Next Course Dates:

  • 18 July 2024, 9am - 2pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas
  • 24 September 2024, 9am - 2pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas
  • 25 September 2024, 9am - 3pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield
  • 26 November 2024, 9am - 3pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Students can register via emailing the Centre for Education and Enhancement Administration team at [email protected]

Conversations about Suicide (staff and student courses available)

The Conversations about Suicide course teaches participants how to provide initial support to someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours, until professional help is received or the crisis resolves. Course participants learn how to recognise warning signs, understand this complex mental health crisis, and respond to suicidal thoughts and behaviours, provide support and encourage pathways to professional help. This course involves interactive consolidation of new skills learnt through practice and case studies. Please consider your wellbeing while booking this course, and let us know in advance if you have any concerns. To find out more about this course, go to Conversations About Suicide  - Mental Health First Aid Australia (mhfa.com.au)

Duration 5 hours
Location Face to face at the JCU Townsville Bebegu Yumba campus and Cairns Nguma-bada campus
Cost Staff:  $60 each
Students:  free - this course is paid for by JCU on behalf of students

Next Course Dates:

  • 9 May 2024, 4pm - 9pm at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas -  Staff and students
  • 8 July 2024, 9am - 3pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield - Staff only
  • 25 November 2024, 9am - 3pm at JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield - Staff and students

Staff can register to attend here and students can register via emailing the Centre for Education and Enhancement Administration team at [email protected]

Confident, Calm and Connected (CCC): A group program to tackle social anxiety

This 6-week group program is for students who would like to feel more confident in social situations. The group focuses on developing and practicing evidence-based psychological strategies to overcome anxiety and nerves about social settings, whilst strengthening your confidence to reengage with the people and things that you care about most. Participants will also develop and practice social skill strategies such as how to meet new people and develop friendships. We encourage all interested JCU students to register, whether you are domestic, international, mature-aged, fresh out of high school, undergraduate or postgraduate. You just need to be currently enrolled and based in Australia.

How does the group run?

The group is intentionally small (no more than 12 people) and is friendly, relaxed and supportive. Each week has a different focus but builds upon the previous week. There is no fee for attending this group but it is important that participants commit to attending all six sessions.

For 2024, the group will likely be offered twice, with the first round starting early Semester 1 and the second round starting early Semester 2 (day and time to be confirmed). The group will be offered as face to face in Townsville, however if you are interested in this group but located elsewhere, please register your interest as future rounds may be offered in Cairns or online.

For the first round in 2024, contact us by Monday 4 March to book a registration appointment and meet a group facilitator.

For further information

Please contact JCU Wellbeing via phone (1800 246 446, option 2), email: [email protected], or in person (located at JCU Libraries in Townsville and Cairns).

In 2024, JCU Wellbeing is excited be offering its first ADHD 101 group program to support students with a diagnosis of ADHD. This free group program will be offered face to face in Townsville, with its first round offered early Semester 1. Further details regarding this program will be released shortly, so please visit this page again in January.

To register your interest and meet a group facilitator, please contact JCU Wellbeing by Monday 4 March. JCU Wellbeing can be contacted via phone (1800 246 446, option 2), email, [email protected], or in person (located at JCU Libraries in Townsville and Cairns).

Mental Health & Wellbeing Snapshot Videos

Watch this quick Exam Stress Management Snapshot Video

Watch this Motivation and Productivity Snapshot Video

Watch this Sexual Wellbeing Snapshot Video

Staff

JCU's Employee Assistance Program offers free and confidential counselling services

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