Student Wellbeing - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Student Wellbeing


Student Wellbeing psychologists, social workers and health promotion practitioners provide a variety of services, initiatives and resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of undergraduate, postgraduate and HDR students at all USC campuses.

Our team contributes to USC's commitment to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all our people.

Mission Statement

Student Wellbeing affirms social justice as an inherent right as agreed to in the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ while respecting the uniqueness and diversity of all people. Student Wellbeing provides a multifaceted, high quality proactive and responsive service with a skills development focus to embed safety, mental health and wellbeing firmly into the student experience at USC.

Student Wellbeing adopts a trauma-informed approach to enhance academic performance and applies the skills of restorative justice, education psychology and counselling to build safety, resilience and confidence for university success. Student Wellbeing acknowledges the importance of students feeling connected to and having a sense of belonging to USC and have developed services with this in mind. At Student Wellbeing we operate four separate but complementary programs:

  • Counselling Services: Individual, couples and group work processes
  • Tenancy and Welfare: Budgeting, emergency relief, tenancy advice and referral
  • Safe USC Specialist Services: Threat assessment and management, advice in relation to safety, behavioural risk and the complaints process
  • Health Promotion: Physical and mental health resources, peer health and wellbeing programs

Student Wellbeing views innovation as nourished by continuous research, evaluation, reflection, and training for both wellbeing staff and the broader university community.

Meet our team
Caryn Andersen

Caryn has been a member of the student wellbeing team for 4 years. She has worked in the child protection and child health field in both Australia and the UK, as a therapist, consultant and trainer for two decades. Her passion in children’s personal safety and well-being resulted in co-authoring & publishing a bestseller in 2010. She spent a number of years in her own successful private practise on the Sunshine Coast, with a focus on positive change, helping clients understand how interpersonal and social influences affect their behaviour and encourage clients to enact positive change in their lives in a holistic way.

Karryn Bratby

Karryn is a counsellor with experience in the primary, secondary and tertiary health sector in urban and regional Australia. Karryn has worked in a range of welfare sectors: disability services, homelessness, gendered violence, child protection, chronic unemployment, and in a primary school. Karryn has also taught in NSW TAFE and was employed as an academic at USC. Karryn has worked across three states, NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Karryn has a strong background in the fields of grief and loss, mental health and trauma. Karryn is a strong advocate for prevention that embeds sustainable, proactive responses to the evolving and complex needs of the community, this includes the mental health and wellbeing of USC students.

Kathy Cool-Murphy

Kathy is a counsellor with over 18 years’ experience in a myriad of settings. Kathy has worked in the tertiary sector for 11 years and is passionate about helping students to achieve their full potential.
She has a particular interest in mindfulness and resilience.

Jocelyn Courtney

Jocelyn is a counsellor and the UNIfy coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for providing timely counselling and support to students regarding their identified needs. Within her UNIfy role she specifically supports students with mental health issues. Her previous roles include working for the Australian government, non-government organisations and community health service as a social worker. She has extensive experience working with young people and families in the field of homelessness, domestic and family violence and mental health issues. Jocelyn is committed to ensuring that students feel supported and are able focus on their academic and personal wellbeing.

David Duncan

David is the Student Health Coordinator. In this role, he is responsible for coordinating the planning, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive program of health and wellbeing initiatives based on identified student needs. David supervises USC health promotion students in professional workplace learning. His previous roles at USC include academic skills adviser, research assistant and sessional tutor. David is committed to helping create healthy USC campuses where students are supported to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Lyndal Hennell

Lyndal is a counsellor with over 20 years’ experience in supporting clients, both in clinical practice and working within community family organisations. Previous roles have included counselling and support in areas of depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, parenting and pregnancy, self-esteem and other mental health challenges. She has also taught in the tertiary sector in Counselling skills. With a practical orientation, she works collaboratively with students to support them in developing or improving their strategies and skills to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Eilish Hobbs

Eilish is the Education and Assessment Officer with SafeUSC. Eilish has extensive experience working in the public mental health system in both a community and hospital settings. Eilish has an appreciation for the difficulties students with ongoing mental health concerns may face when trying to navigate the university system. Eilish enjoys working with students from a diverse range of social and cultural backgrounds and is passionate about promoting autonomy, empowerment and a sense of belonging for students at USC.

Rachel Hunter

Rachel is the ‘first point of contact’ for Student Wellbeing at USC. In her role as Student Support Officer, Rachel provides a warm and welcoming space for students to feel reassured, safe and supported when presenting either in person or via the phone at Student Wellbeing. Rachel’s broad knowledge of USC services, processes and practices ensures your enquiry will be directed to the most appropriate team member or service at each campus. Rachel’s support of students is underpinned by her Bachelor of Counselling qualification.

Anna Jones

Anna is a Senior Counsellor who works across the SouthBank, Caboolture and Sunshine Coast campuses. Anna has 14 years’ experience, and has worked extensively in the field of trauma, and interpersonal trauma specifically. Her previous roles include work across not for profit, private and education sectors in a diverse range of roles, including crisis counselling, homelessness, domestic violence, child protection, eating disorders, student support in both primary and secondary education and private practice. Anna enjoys working with students from diverse backgrounds and supporting them to achieve their academic and personal goals.

Christy Manning

Christy is a counsellor who has worked across government, non-government organisations, and education sectors. Her previous roles include work in counselling, teaching, mental health case management, and student support in both secondary and tertiary education environments. She has worked in Western Australia and Queensland, as well as internationally in both the United Kingdom and Canada. Christy enjoys working with students from a range of diverse backgrounds, and is passionate about supporting them to achieve their goals.

Michael Pastorello

Michael is a registered psychologist with a background in performance psychology. He uses a flexible client-centred approach to help people find their own pathway to improving mental health, wellbeing, and performance. He has experience both working with people to improve wellbeing in their day to day lives, and working in performance settings. He believes in the importance of creating balance in our lifestyles and flexibility in our thinking to become the best that we can be. Michael is familiar with a variety of evidence-based psychological interventions including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), motivational interviewing and psychological skills training.

Meredith Young

Meredith is the Tenancy and Welfare Officer located at the Fraser Coast campus. Meredith’s previous roles at the University of Southern Queensland included Study Skills Support, Student Relationship Officer, and Welfare Office. At USC, Meredith has also supported the Student Central team and Community Engagement team. Meredith is passionate about providing students with practical workshops, information, and referrals to help them succeed and reach their full potential as university students.


Stressful personal, study or health related problems can make it hard to manage the demands of daily life and studying at university.

Talking to someone who understands the pressures and difficulties you are experiencing can be helpful.

USC's counsellors listen to your concerns, help you clarify key issues and assist you in developing strategies for either resolving the problem or dealing with it more effectively.

Book an appointment

Book online via the Student Hub

Students wishing to access counselling services are asked to book a short 15 minute call back, phone appointment. A counsellor will then call you and discuss the best support options.

Student Wellbeing counsellors do not provide after-hours support, but can refer you to a service who can.

Office hours: 

Monday-Friday: 8.30am-4.30pm

Tel: +61 7 5430 1226

Common areas students seek help

Students commonly seek help for:

  • depression, panic and anxiety
  • exam worries
  • study concerns
  • course-related decision making (including deferment and withdrawal)
  • feeling overwhelmed or not coping
  • conflict or crisis situations
  • grief and bereavement
  • stress management
  • sexuality and gender identity issues
  • family and relationship issues
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) support
  • variations to enrolment or assessment on compassionate grounds
What to expect at your appointment

You and your counsellor will:

  • talk about your specific problems
  • assess how these problems affect you
  • explore options or strategies that can help

The counsellor may decide that referral to another health professional, organisation or university department would better suit your needs. The counsellor will discuss this with you and assist with the referral process.


No electronic communication is completely secure.

A confidential and secure record of the email communication between students and the counsellor is kept by the Counselling Service.

Counsellors may be required to breach the confidentiality of these records if the safety of the student or other people is at serious risk, or if the student's records are subpoenaed by a Court of Law. Please see our consent agreement form (PDF 85KB) for further detail.

Supporting documentation

Do you need supporting evidence for:

  • assignment due date extension
  • review of grade
  • exam deferral

Student Wellbeing Counselling Services may be able to assist you with evidence to support your application if you have experienced serious personal trauma, been a victim of crime or unexpected family, employment or personal circumstances.

You can apply for assistance via the 'Request for supporting evidence' tab on the Wellbeing page in Student Hub.

Tenancy and welfare

Student Wellbeing provides tenancy and welfare support across all USC campuses. The Student Guild provides legal and tenancy support services, and can assist you to understand your rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (2008). We provide workshops, drop in sessions, and individual student appointments.

Book an appointment

Book online via the Student Hub

Common areas students seek help
  • Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) legislation – the 'RTA' is the state government statutory body for Queensland's residential rental sector
  • Successful share house living
  • Financial literacy
  • Face to face appointments
  • Telephone appointments
  • Access to emergency financial aid and student loans, scholarships and bursaries
  • Dispute resolution
  • Free legal services
  • Emergency and/or crisis accommodation and financial assistance
What to expect at your appointment

You and the tenancy and welfare officer will:

  • Talk about your specific welfare and tenancy concerns
  • Explore ways to problem solve these concerns

The tenancy and welfare officer may decide that a referral to another service or university department would better suit your needs. The tenancy and welfare officer will discuss this with you and assist with the referral process.


The UNIfy program works from an individual case management approach for students who live with complex mental health. The program provides practical support to reduce the barriers that may impact on your success as a student.

The aim of the UNIfy program is to develop an individual support plan to assist you to connect with other students and the learning during your time at USC.

You can be referred to UNIfy through an appointment. Students wishing to access this service are asked to book online via the Student Hub for a short 15 minute call back, phone appointment.

Please note: Group programs have been suspended due to the current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Student Wellbeing counsellors offer workshops, drop-ins and social support groups during the semester to help you adjust to university life, achieve lifestyle balance and develop skills to take greater control of your health.

Guided mindfulness meditation combined with a relaxed, immersive experience.

Mindfulness is a mental and physical technique you can use to focus your awareness on the present moment. Being in the moment helps you acknowledge, accept and cope with painful or intrusive thoughts, feelings and sensations.

Mindfulness practice is simple, powerful, takes just a few minutes and can be done almost anywhere, so it can be a great addition to your everyday mental health self-care. Come and join us to learn new skills, refresh skill already developed or master your practice.

USC Caboolture

When: Monday 11am-12pm Weeks 2-13

Where: B2.07 Collaboration Studio

USC Fraser Coast

When: 11:30-11:45am, fortnightly Weeks 2, 4 and 6

Where: Library lounge

Interested? Contact Student Wellbeing for more information or book on Student Hub.

USC Moreton Bay

When: Friday 1:30-2:30pm, Weeks 2-13

Where: A.G.72

USC Sunshine Coast

When: Thursday 10-11am, Weeks 1-Exam Week 2

Where: "The Cave" H2.G.16

Please note: Peer programs have been suspended due to the current COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Pride Club

Pride Club celebrates all genders and sexualities, including bisexual, pansexual, fluid, asexual, questioning, transgender, non-binary and intersex students.

If you are questioning, coming out or you’re out and want to connect with people who may have had similar experiences, come and join us!

USC Sunshine Coast

When:  Wednesday 12-1:30pm, Weeks 2-13

Where: EG.10, no booking required

USC Caboolture

When: Tuesday 12-1:30pm, Weeks 2-13

Where: B2.33, no booking required

USC Moreton Bay

When: Thursday 9-10:30am, Weeks 2-13

Where: A.G.16, no booking required

Interested? Contact Student Wellbeing for more information or book on Student Hub.

MATES @ USC: international student support

A social support group for international students. Meet each week on campus to celebrate culture and the USC student experience.

If you want to connect come and join us!

USC SouthBank

When: Monday 12-1:30pm, Weeks 2-12

Where: Student Common Kitchen, Level 2, Building A4 

USC Sunshine Coast

When: Friday 12-1:30pm. Weeks 2-13

Where: EG.10

Interested? Contact Student Wellbeing for more information or book on Student Hub.

The Boardroom: board games, cards and puzzles

Do you enjoy playing board games, cards, or puzzles? Join us in The Boardroom to connect with others and have fun.

When: Thursday 2-4pm, Weeks 3-13

Where: EG.10, USC Sunshine Coast

Interested? Contact Student Wellbeing for more information, just drop-in to EG.10 or book on Student Hub.

Seek support or tell us about your concerns.

You can seek help from SafeUSC if you require support or advice in relation to safety, behavioural risk and concerning behaviours. We can provide support regardless of where the behaviour occurs - on or off campus.

USC Health Promotion supports students to take greater control of their health and wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy balance in your life will support your academic performance and help you make the most of your time at university.

Who we are

The Student Health Coordinator works with the Student Wellbeing team, health promotion students on placement and volunteer student wellbeing peer leaders to coordinate, collaborate and participate in student health and wellbeing initiatives across USC campuses.

What we do

We coordinate a range of training, resources and events to support your physical and mental health:

USC Health Promotion coordinates the Healthy University Initiative in collaboration with the Health, Safety and Wellbeing team for USC staff to contribute to the University’s Strategic Plan commitment to 'protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all our people'.

Want to be part of the team?
Contact Student Wellbeing about being a volunteer student wellbeing peer leader. You will gain training and support to help implement health promotion initiatives at USC.

Student training
  • Wellbeing Peer Leader: Contact Student Wellbeing about being a volunteer student wellbeing peer leader. You will gain training and support to help implement health promotion initiatives at USC.
  • Consent and respectful relationships training to create a shared understanding of respect, consent and how you can contribute to safe, inclusive USC campuses
  • Professional Development for Professional Learning: Free training modules that are complimentary to current curriculum and aim to enhance skills and knowledge for:
    • university study,
    • clinical placement,
    • group work activities,
    • capacity building to manage stressful situations,
    • difficult conversations,
    • improve mental health,
    • strength student motivation and engagement, and
    • employability skills that are transferrable across job environments.

Check out Student Hub for a complete listing of our workshops.

Staff training

Curriculum aligned and curriculum embedded resources and bespoke workshops can be created to suit a range of student needs:

  • as part of HDR orientation,
  • before, during or after lectures/tutorials,
  • course materials within BlackBoard,
  • during your orientation activities,
  • as part of mentoring and leadership programs, and
  • before or during placement, field trip and internship activities.

Topics can include:

  • Stress management
  • Self-care
  • Perfectionism
  • Building resilience
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Mindfulness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Having difficult conversations
  • Study/life balance – goal setting
  • Adjustment to starting at USC including culture, school/uni transition, moving states, country, regional and remote areas
  • Recognising and Responding to student in distress
  • Responding to Students with Challenging behaviours
  • First Responder – Responding to disclosures of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Please check the Staff Development calendar on MyUSC or contact Student Wellbeing directly (07 5430 1226) to discuss your needs.

Students requiring urgent help should contact:

  • Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance) Tel: 000 (Triple zero)
  • Suicide Call Back Service (24 hours) Tel: 1300 659 467
  • Sunshine Coast Mental Health Services (Crisis number) Tel: 1300 767 155
  • SafeUSC Tel: 07 5430 1168 or Email:

While you are waiting for your appointment, there are resources and strategies on this website to help you cope. Self help information is also available in the waiting area at the service.

Strategies for
Self Care
  • Establish a daily routine
  • Balance rest and activity
  • Engage in physical activity of some kind (e.g., swimming, yoga, walking)
  • Eat well and don’t forget breakfast
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs which can adversely affect mood
  • Learn a relaxation strategy
  • Check out our website for relaxation strategies and audio relaxation guides
Managing Distress
  • Reassure yourself that you can tolerate your feelings and then identify any part of your situation that you can change for the better
  • Don’t be afraid of your feelings
  • Experience feelings as waves that come and go
  • Remember times when you have felt different to now
  • Put off acting on impulse
  • Problem solve: define the problem and weigh up options
  • If you feel that you may hurt yourself ring Lifeline (Phone: 13 11 14) or other emergency contacts
  • If you feel unable to be alone it’s okay to ask a friend or family member to stay with you
  • Choose to be with people who are positive and care about you
  • You may not be able to support others just now
  • Say no to unwanted demands
  • You may be irritable but try not to push people away who care about you
  • Let someone know you may need support
  • Do not assume that other people can’t cope with you or will not be interested in your wellbeing
Building Inner Strength
  • When you are going through a rough time it is easy to focus on the negatives and not value other parts of yourself and your life that are still positive
  • Reassure yourself that you will get through this
  • Accept yourself – do not criticise or blame yourself
  • Do something every day that makes you feel competent or successful, no matter how small it may seem (e.g., tidying your desk)
  • Notice positive experiences (e.g., someone smiling at you)
  • Remember other times when you have solved a problem successfully
  • Do things that make you smile or laugh (e.g., watching a funny TV show)
  • Limit viewing of distressing programs
USC Counselling Service resources

Community resources: Information and contact details for community-based counselling and support services.

Useful links: Online self help resources for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, youth health and wellbeing, suicide and self-harm.

Online self-help programs and resources

thedesk is developed by The University of Queensland to support Australian tertiary students to achieve mental and physical health and wellbeing. thedesk has free online modules, tools, quizzes, and advice that can help people improve their wellbeing and study more effectively. There are four modules that aim to assist students stay calm, be more productive, and improve their wellbeing and relationships.


myCompass is a free personalised self-help program developed by the Black Dog Institute for people with mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety, and stress. The program aims to help you recognise unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and develop skills to manage them based predominantly on cognitive behaviour therapy.

Mood Gym

Mood Gym is a free online program designed to help people learn and practise skills to prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is like an interactive, online self-help book which teaches skills based on cognitive behaviour therapy.

This Way Up

This Way Up offers online courses designed to help you identify, understand, and the skills to improve psychological difficulties like stress, insomnia, worry, anxiety, and depression. You can enrol in most of their courses as self-help. Some of their courses are free – Coping with Stress, Intro to Mindfulness, Managing Insomnia. Others are low-cost at $59 for six sessions over three months. You can complete a free anonymous online questionnaire to receive recommendations for courses that may be useful to you.


MindSpot is a free telephone and online service developed by Macquarie University for Australian adults experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. They offer free online or phone screening assessments to help you learn about your symptoms. You will then receive recommendations from a MindSpot therapist on free online MindSpot Clinic Treatment Courses to help you recover, or local services that can help. Note: you must be eligible for Medicare-funded services in Australia to access Mindspot.


Ecouch is a free self-help interactive program which provides evidence-based information to understand emotional problems better, and learn strategies that may help you improve your life. It draws from cognitive, behavioural, and interpersonal therapies, as well as relaxation and physical activity. There are modules for depression, generalised anxiety and worry, social anxiety, relationship breakdown, and loss and grief.

Centre for Clinical Interventions

Centre for Clinical Interventions offers a range of modules that provides information on common mental health issues and practical strategies to manage these. They can be completed online, saved to your computer, or printed out to work through by hand.


ReachOut has a dedicated section on their website that aims to help people find mobile apps and tools to help you look after your health and wellbeing. Apps are reviewed both by professionals and users. You can take a short quiz to receive recommendations of apps that could be helpful to you.

Smiling Mind

Smiling Mind is a free mindfulness meditation app developed by psychologists and educators to help people balance their lives by looking after their mental health, and manage the pressure, stress, and challenges of daily life.

Stop, Breathe & Think

Stop, Breathe & Think is a personalised meditation and mindfulness app that helps you develop skills to manage life’s ups and downs. It invites you to check in with your emotions, and recommends short guided meditations customised to how you feel. Foundational meditations are free, and there are additional activities and features for a paid subscription.


MoodMission is a free app designed to empower you to overcome low moods and anxiety by discovering new and better ways of coping. When you tell MoodMission how you’re feeling, it will give you a tailored list of 5 Missions (evidence-based activities and mental health strategies) that can help you feel better.

ReachOut Breathe

ReachOut Breathe is a free app that helps you reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by slowing down your heart rate with your iPhone or Apple Watch.

ReachOut WorryTime

ReachOut WorryTime is a free app that gives you a place to store your worries until later, so you don’t get caught up in them and can get on with your day. WorryTime will alert you when it’s time to think about them. Instead of listening to negative thoughts or pushing them away, research shows that postponing worries and only giving them attention at a set time helps you manage worry.

The Check-In

The Check-In is a free app developed by beyondblue for anyone who wants to check in with a friend whom you are worried or concerned about. It guides you through four steps on how you could plan a conversation, and give you advice on next steps.

  • Courtney, J (2019) The UNIfy program: Providing additional support to students with mental health issues in a university context, Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, 27(1)62-66.
  • Duncan, D (2019). Winter is coming! USC provides free flu vaccinations for students, ANZSSA May Newsletter: 4.
  • Bratby, K and Sharp, A (2018) Professional Development for Professional Learning: Building Skills & Knowledge with Students Transitioning through University, Placement & Employment: A Pilot Study, ANZSSA November Newsletter: 8-9.
  • Wills, A & Duncan, D (2018) Consent is Sexy when it is Peer to Peer, Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Vol. 26(1), pp.64-70.

  • Bratby, K and Hull-Styles, M (2017) The Role of triage in a Regional University Counselling Service, ANZSSA December Newsletter: 30-32.
  • Oprescu, F, I., McAllister, M., Jones, C, M & Duncan, D. (2017) Professional Development Needs of Nurse Educators: An Australian Case Study, Nurse Education in Practice, Vol. 27, pp.165-168.
  • Blakeney, D and Bratby, K. Challenging Learner Resistance to Social Change: Working Transformatively across Disciplines in Social Work Education, submitted to International Social Sciences 14/8/2013.

Journal and Book Reviews

  • Bratby, K. October 2015 Book Review ED: Johansson, K; Lassbo, G & Nehls, E. Inside the New University: Pre-requisities for a Contemporary Knowledge Production, Social Alternatives, 34(1)72-73
  • Bratby, K. October 2013 Book Review of Pease, B; Goldingay, S; Hosken, N & Nipperess, S. Doing Critical Social Work, Allen and Unwin, Australia.
Conference Presentations
  • Jones, A. Child Aware Approaches Conference (2017) Keeping the Child included in Domestic Violence
  • Bratby, K (2014) Co-presenter at the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education Conference in October 2014 on Challenging Learner Resistance to Social Change: Working Transformatively across Disciplines in Social Work Education
  • Duncan, D (2013) Smoking Prevalence, Attitudes and Beliefs of Female Nursing Students at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Professional Affiliations
  • David Duncan: Australian Health Promotion Association, Director (2011- present)

More information

Contact Student Wellbeing for more information or to make an appointment with our services.