Weighed down by problems? Want help feeling better?

If you're struggling with anxiety or depression or are just having problems coping, you're not alone. One in four of us will have problems with our mental health at some time in our lives. The first stop should be your doctor, where you can find out which therapies and treatments are available. They will be able to direct you to the appropriate treatment.

Don't feel worried about going - your doctor is there to help with your mental as well as your physical health. Most doctors see people every day who are feeling anxious, depressed or are having problems coping and want someone to talk to. In order to help, your doctor will try to find out what's bothering you. It could be anything from work stress and anxiety to relationship problems, poor housing or living with a chronic illness.

Types of support

  • Talking therapies. Anyone can ask their doctor for talking therapy. Exactly what kind of therapy you will be referred to will depend on what the problem is. It may include counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, family/couples therapy, group therapy or mindfulness. Many of these are available on Medicare.
  • Medicines. If you and your doctor agree that you would benefit from medication, there are various options that can help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, mania and other mental health problems.
  • Specialist care. More serious mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia require specialist care, and you will be referred to a psychiatrist at the local hospital and/or the local community mental health team.
  • Emergencies . In an emergency, if your local surgery is closed, go to a hospital's Emergency desk and ask to see the psychiatrist on duty.

If you feel suicidal... It's important to talk to someone you trust - for example, a family member, friend, teacher. Tell your doctor who will help you get the support you need, or you can call Lifeline 24 hours a day on 13 11 14.

If you need someone to talk to about your concerns - big or small - you can speak to one of beyond blue's trained mental health professionals 24 hours a day on 1300 22 46 36. They will listen, provide information and advice, and point you in the right direction for further support if needed.