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Mental health support

31 October 2023

Sometimes the stresses of life can affect our mood and wellbeing. We may even experience anxiety or depression. Many people don't know where to begin or who to talk to when they're having a tough time. Check out UC's mental health support options and reach out straight away if you need help.


Sometimes the stresses of life can affect our mood and wellbeing. We may even experience anxiety or depression. Many people do not know where to begin or who to talk to when they are having a tough time.

If you're feeling down or anxious, there are lots of people who can help

For urgent mental health support, phone Crisis Resolution 0800 920 092 or Lifeline 0800 543 354

Basic tips for feeling better 

Looking after your wellbeing is a key part of leading a happy and healthy life. Students and staff can contribute to their own mental wellbeing in a number of different ways. Here is a list of tips adapted from factsheets:

  • Stay active: depression often leads to a drop in energy and motivation but often the less you do, the worse you feel. Physical activity is a great way to help deal with mild to moderate depression, as it improves your health and enhances your feelings of self-esteem. Do what you can, when you can, and don’t worry if you don’t stick to the plan. If you want to find out more about how physical activity can help, and what’s happening in your area, visit
  • Do things you enjoy: losing interest or enjoyment in the things you used to love doing is a common symptom of depression. If you keep at it, eventually the enjoyment will come back. Plan things to look forward to.
  • Increase social activities: depression often makes us want to withdraw from people but this can lead to a cycle of isolation. It’s important to stay connected to help break the cycle of depression.
  • Reduce stress: give yourself the time and space to clear your thoughts and relax. If you are feeling overwhelmed, postpone making any major life changes.
  • Resolve personal conflicts: unresolved relationship issues can be very stressful and can increase your risk of depression. If you are feeling stuck and don’t seem able to sort things out, try talking to a counsellor or psychologist who can help you find ways of addressing your problems.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques: try yoga, meditation, visualisation, etc.
  • Improve your sleep: lack of sleep can increase depression and depression can result in a lack of sleep! Ask your GP for some successful sleeping tips.
  • Ask for help: sometimes it is difficult to see a way through problems by yourself. There are people who are willing, able and available to help you. If your request for help isn’t heard, ask again, or try to find someone else who will listen.

  • UC Health Centre offers free counselling to UC students.
  • The Student Care Team is available to give advice on the issues affecting you and can direct you to ongoing support if needed.
  • The UC Psychology Centre offers students an opportunity to participate in a wide range of psychological assessments and treatments.
  • The Chaplains can help if you are looking for someone to connect and talk about what's going on for you

  • All right?
    If you are having a tough time or finding it hard to cope, it's all right to ask for help. You are not alone - you can ring the Canterbury Support Line on 0800 777 846 and someone will talk with you and help work out what kind of support you may need.
  • Anxiety Support
    A non-profit organisation working for people who experience or support others who have any form of anxiety
  • Depression Helpline
    Understanding more about depression can help you find a way through. Call the Depression Helpline to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions. Freephone 0800 111 757.
  • Family Court Counselling
    This service is free for couples who are having problems with their relationship or are separating and need help reaching agreement on issues like childcare
  • Having suicidal thoughts?
    Information for you, and for family, whanau, friends and support networks
  • Healthline
    Free advice from trained registered nurses. Call 0800 611 116.
  • Lifeline
    A 24-hour counselling service. Call toll-free on 0800 543 354
  • Local Counselling Services
    Counselling is free for under 25 year olds at 298 Health Centre on Barbadoes Street. You can talk to your GP about getting a referral to other local counsellors or phone the NZ Association of Counsellors on +64 7 8340 220.
  • The Lowdown
    Helping young Kiwis understand and deal with depression. Take the self-test or get on the message board, send text messages for free to 5626, or email the
  • Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support (MHAPS)
    A peer-led, Christchurch-based charitable trust to assist people who experience mental distress/mental illness and/or addictions
  • Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC)
    A free mental health library and coordinating service for everyone in Christchurch and the South Island of New Zealand
  • Ministry of Health factsheets 
    Information on common mental illnesses, their symptoms and treatment
  • Sparx
    A free online tool to help young people aged 12-19 learn to deal with depression and anxiety
  • Suicide Prevention Line
    Provides support, information and resources to people at risk of suicide, family/whanau, friends affected by suicide and people supporting someone with suicidal thoughts and/or suicidal behaviours: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO).
  • Warmline
    A telephone peer support service for people experiencing mental illness living in Canterbury or the West Coast. Call 0800 899 276 (7pm-1am seven nights a week) for confidential non-crisis support
  • Youthline
    Provides development opportunities and confidential support for young people from all walks of life all over Aotearoa New Zealand. They are available to talk with young people no matter what is happening. Call 0800 37 66 33, free text 234 or email
  • 298 Youth Health Centre
    Free medical care and counselling services for those aged 10-24yrs. Call (03) 943 9298.
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