If you're considering seeking advice from a mental health professional, learn about what to expect and how to comfortably prepare so you get the most out of your appointment.
What to know before you go
Counselling can be helpful for anyone having a tough time and it’s more accessible than you might think. Did you know Swinburne has a team of mental health nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists right here on campus? If you’re considering visiting a professional, here’s everything you need to know before heading in.
How do I know when to book an appointment?
If you’re distressed or you don’t feel quite right, come and see the team. You don’t need to be previously diagnosed with a mental health condition or spiralling into a pit of doom about studies.
It’s common for people to dismiss their struggles as ‘silly’ or ‘not that bad’, or even acknowledge that something doesn’t feel right but ‘I’ll leave it alone for now’. But when it comes to mental health, sooner is better. Try not to worry too much about all the details. Ask for help first, ask questions later.
What does a counselling session look like?
First up is the triage session. This is the initial appointment where you’ll talk through where you're at mentally and what’s causing you trouble. Next, you’ll be given an appointment with a counsellor. This consultation is a big share session. You get to share what’s going on in your life, and the counsellor shares their expertise and information with you.
When it comes to mental health solutions, there’s no ‘one plan fits all’. Everyone’s situation is different, so future appointments would be tailored to what you need.
What type of questions will I be asked?
Basically, the counsellor will guide you through a conversation about why you’re there. It’ll be a series of questions about your concerns, some background details and your life path in general. This will help them understand what’s troubling you and most importantly, how best to help.
Will I feel uncomfortable?
Possibly. But you’ll be in a safe space. In very safe hands. Our counsellors are experts in having non-judgmental conversations. They are here to listen to the sorts of things you might not be so comfortable discussing with others. Plus, you’ll always be in control of what you choose to share. So it’s a real win-win situation.
Counselling tends to work best when you’re open and honest, but it can take time to feel ready to share; just like any relationship. Your counsellor will understand that.
If you’re feeling a bit nervous beforehand, it can help to write a list of things that you do want to talk about. That way, you won't forget anything, and you’ll feel more prepared to discuss it all.
Will the information I divulge be shared with anyone else?
Your conversations with our counsellors will remain behind closed doors. There are only a few rare exceptions to confidentiality such as if you or someone else is in immediate danger or if required by a court of law. Check out Swinburne’s privacy and confidentiality guidelines for more info.
How much will a session cost me?
This is the best bit. Swinburne students can access six appointments per semester free of charge. Phew, right? We can almost hear the sigh of relief from here.
We bulk bill. Our counsellor only charges what Medicare covers, meaning no extra payment is required.
Sessions are covered by the mandatory health insurance required by your visa. Some Overseas Student Health Cover policies might require you to pay upfront and collect reimbursement from your insurance company later. So, remember to check your policy before you go!
Did you know?
Swinburne offers on-site health services and fully confidential counselling. To book a free counseling session, simply call 9214 8483, register and make an appointment or come up to Level 4, GS building and we can help you from there. You'll need your student ID, Medicare card or OSHC health insurance details and your Centrelink Health Care Card if you have one.