Support services for depression and anxiety
If you are experiencing depression and/or anxiety and wondering where to get help, remember that you don’t have to deal with this on your own. But finding support that meets your particular needs can be confusing and overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what support is available for you.
This can help if:
you’re wondering what support is available for people with depression or anxiety
you’re not sure where to find help
you want to speak with someone immediately.
Getting professional support
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, it’s important to remember that there are effective treatments and services available to support you. Getting help earlier can reduce the impact on other aspects of your life and improve your recovery. Here are some mental health professionals who might be able to help:
Your local GP will help you to understand what’s going on for you in regards to your mental health. GPs are trained to be the first point of contact to help you figure out how to address mental health concerns. They’ll work with you to understand the problem, rule out physical causes, and refer you to other help if necessary.
If you’re nervous that your GP won’t ‘get’ what you’re going through, you could look online for a GP who lists ‘mental health’ as an area of interest. You could also speak to the receptionist at your local practice about the best doctor to see.
Your GP might suggest a mental health-care plan, which is essentially a document that says what you and your doctor have agreed is your goal in seeking support. A mental health-care plan guarantees you ten sessions with a mental health professional that will be subsidised by Medicare.
Psychologists and psychiatrists
Psychologists and psychiatrists are mental health professionals, often referred to by a GP. Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in mental health, and are able to prescribe medication where necessary. Psychologists have specialised training in diagnosing, treating and preventing mental health disorders, but don’t write prescriptions.
Head to beyondblue's directory of mental health practitioners to search for a GP or mental health professional in your area.
Depression and anxiety support services
A number of online, research-based and community-led organisations exist that provide information about and access to tools to assist with depression and anxiety. Some of these are:
Headspace This Australia-wide government organisation provides mental health support that can help you with depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns. They provide free online and phone counselling, and have treatment centres located all around Australia that you can visit.
Kids Helpline Kids Helpline is a support service for young people aged 5–25. They provide free online and phone counselling and are available 24/7. You can also request the same counsellor every time.
Black Dog Institute This research and treatment facility specialises in mental health, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Their website has information about mental health issues, including self-tests and suggestions for what you can do right now.
SANE Australia This mental health organisation provides information and resources for people with complex mental health issues, and has a hotline and forums where you can chat to other people.
The Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria (ARCVic) ARCVic offers a range of services for people experiencing anxiety, OCD, depression, and other mental illnesses. They run an anxiety and OCD helpline, which provides support, information and referrals to people with anxiety disorders and their families and carers, as well as to mental health care providers. They are based in Victoria, but the helpline is available to anyone in Australia. They also run online and in person (VIC) support groups and recovery programs.
Head to Health Head to Health makes your search for support easier by pointing you to available mental health information, programs and services from publicly funded providers.
Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) This research facility provides online and and in-person treatment for anxiety and depression.
HelpGuide This international not-for-profit organisation provides tips for managing mental health and wellness.
Mental Health Carers Australia This organisation is for friends and family members supporting people through mental health concerns.
13YARN 13 YARN is a national helpline for Indigenous people who are going through a tough time and feel like having a yarn. All of the operators are Indigenous people who are trained to support you without judgement and to provide a confidential, culturally safe space to yarn about your needs, worries or concerns.
Online tools developed to support recovery from depression and anxiety
There are a lot of places online that can support you with a variety of strategies for managing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some suggestions are:
MoodGYM: This online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program from the Australian National University is designed to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
MindSpot: This free, government-funded program provides online assessment and treatment courses, and can also help you to find local services.
myCompass: This interactive self-help service is from the Black Dog Institute. Their online tool helps you to track your moods and build resilience. The Black Dog Institute has more tools and apps here.
This Way Up: CRUfAD delivers a range of clinically-proven courses, from CBT programs for anxiety and depression, to general self-help and wellbeing. These can be done with or without a clinician and are available for free or at a low cost.
BITE BACK: This is Black Dog Institute's free, self-guided online wellbeing and resilience program for young people aged 13–16 years old.
ReachOut’s Tools and Apps collection has some more suggestions to help you manage depression or anxiety. These have been reviewed by young people and clinical professionals.
If you need help urgently
If you or someone around you is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to an emergency department.
Another option in a crisis is to contact your local crisis assessment and treatment team. This is a team that provides immediate support during a mental health crisis, and they’re available 24/7:
ACT: 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065
NSW: 1800 011 511
NT: 1800 682 288
QLD: 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255)
SA: 13 14 65
TAS: 1800 332 388
VIC: 1300 874 243
WA: Metro 1300 555 788, Peel 1800 676 822, Rural Link 1800 552 002, TTY 1800 720 101.
If you’re feeling suicidal, unsafe or extremely distressed and need to talk to someone right now, the following services are available 24 hours a day:
Kids Helpline: Free phone and online counselling for young people 5–25 years (1800 55 1800).
Lifeline: Lifeline’s online chat counselling service is available 24/7. Telephone counselling is available 24/7 (13 11 14).
Suicide Call Back Service: Immediate telephone counselling and support in a crisis (1300 659 467).
Visit our urgent help page for more info, including telephone counselling services and helplines.