Welcome to the Broome Student Counselling Service. We want you to thrive at University. We provide free, professional and confidential counselling services to all students at Notre Dame to help you successfully achieve your academic and personal goals.
We recognise that many things can impact on your health and wellbeing while studying. Our counsellors provide a safe and supportive environment in which you can discuss issues impacting on your study. Counsellors will help you develop strategies to address your concerns, improve mental health and wellbeing and achieve your academic goals.
What can I talk to a counsellor about?
Students attend counselling for many different reasons. You are free to talk with your counsellor about any issue affecting your academic or personal life. You can talk to our counsellors about any issue that is of concern to you.
When is the most helpful time to talk with a counsellor?
You can attend counselling at any time during the year. If you have been experiencing any of the following situations or symptoms for a period of more than two weeks we encourage you to talk with a Student Counsellor or your GP / Medical Doctor.
- Struggling to keep up with your work or have failed a paper, exam or unit;
- Experiencing low mood, depressive thoughts and a sense of not being able to shake off the blues;
- Experiencing feelings of anxiety and worry that impact negatively on your day to day life;
- Experiencing personal difficulties in your life and finding it difficult to cope;
- Noticing behaviour changes that are causing you or others concern;
- Experiencing uncomfortable and unwanted thoughts or emotions which are affecting your day to day life;
- Experiencing stress or discomfort;
- Finding relationships difficult or unsatisfying;
- Not coping well in class, workplace learning, clinical placement, at home or at work;
- Having a conflict of faith or values that is worrying you;
- Wanting to make personal or professional changes to help achieve your goals; or
- Experiencing any thoughts of self-harm, wanting to die or suicide.
How to make an appointment
You can make a counselling appointment by:
- Calling the Student Counselling Service located on the Fremantle Campus on +61 8 9433 0580 between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
- Whilst these service are provided from the Fremantle Campus they are relevant and available free of charge to students enrolled in Broome.
- Appointments with the Counselling Service are conducted via telephone.
What do I need to make an appointment?
- You must be an enrolled student.
- Please have your student ID available so that our staff can make your appointment for you.
- It is a good idea to have your calendar available to help you select a suitable time and place your appointment in your diary or calendar once it is confirmed.
What happens once I have made an appointment?
- When you make an appointment you will be asked for your current contact details.
- You will receive a confirmation email with your appointment date and time at your Notre Dame email address.
- Please check the information in the email is correct, especially the contact phone number that a counsellor will call you to conduct the session, and take advantage of the suggested self-help strategies and resources attached.
- The day before your appointment you will also receive a text message reminding you of your appointment.
- If you do not want to receive texts or emails from the counselling service please inform staff when you make an appointment or your counsellor.
- Please be available for your appointment 5 minutes prior.
What can I do while waiting for my appointment?
Sometimes you may have a short wait for your first appointment. If you feel comfortable to do so you could also speak with your trainer/assessor, the Head or Deputy Head of Campus or the Campus Minister for support and guidance. In addition, the following self-help strategies are designed to help you manage:
Take care of yourself
- Establish a daily routine - work, sleep, recreation, etc.
- Balance activity and rest - engage in moderation.
- Engage in physical activity - walking, jogging, and yoga.
- Maintain a healthy diet - reduce caffeine and sugar.
- Avoid unhealthy habits - drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
- Learn a relaxation strategy.
- Take time out if you need to rest and refocus.
- Practice spiritual and cultural values.
- Let someone know that you may need support.
- Don't want to be alone? Ask a friend or family member to stay with you.
- Surround yourself with people who are positive and care about you.
- Accept that you may not be able to support others right now.
- Say NO to unwanted demands.
- You may be irritable but don't push away the people who care about you.
- Do not assume that other people cannot cope with your difficulties.
- Remember that there are people who are interested in your wellbeing.
- Talk to our Campus Minister.
Use your thoughts to manage stress
- Remind yourself you have managed difficult times before.
- Set a small goal and reward yourself when completed.
- Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings.
- Say to yourself "This is how I feel right now and it is ok".
- Remember your current thoughts and emotions don't define you.
- Identify the problem and ask "What is making me feel like this?".
- Think about how you want to manage this situation now.
- Identify the facts and avoid "should have"/"could have" thinking.
- Refrain from impulsive actions and ask for others opinions.
Don't give up
- Don't give up - Focus on the positives in yourself and your life.
- Reassure yourself - "I will get through this!"
- Refrain from self-criticism and self-blame.
- Do something each day that makes you feel competent or successful.
- Pay attention to positive experiences.
- Remember other times when you have solved a problem successfully.
- Smile and laugh – smiling makes you and others feel better.
- Pray and meditate.
- Stop viewing distressing material on TV and avoid violent gaming.
What do I do if I need to change my appointment or cannot attend on the day?
- Please notify us as soon as possible if you are unable to attend by phoning reception on +61 8 9433 0580.
- You will receive an email notifying you of missed appointments.
- You are most welcome to reschedule your appointment if you missed your previous appointment.
- The Student Counselling Service is staffed by professional Psychologists and Counsellors whose practice is governed by professional Codes of Ethics. This ensures that any information revealed by you in a counselling appointment remains confidential.
- Information collected in counselling will only be disclosed to other parties, such as your faculty or an external medical service, with your prior written permission.
- There are exceptions to confidentiality and these are:
- Where a clear risk exists to your safety or the safety of others;
- Where a court has subpoenaed records or requested that a counsellor be present a witness; or
- Where laws require mandatory disclosure of information.
I am in crisis or worried about someone else.
If you or someone else requires emergency / crisis support use the emergency numbers below. The Student Counselling Service is not a 24 hour service and does not offer drop in emergency or crisis support. We cannot guarantee we will be able to respond to crisis situations.
24 hour Crisis Support Services
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788
Police, Ambulance & Fire (for life threatening emergencies) 000
Other counselling services that may be able to provide appointments in a crisis situation
- Centrecare + 61 8 9325 6644
- Relationships Australia +61 8 9336 2114
- Men's Line + 61 8 9340 1820
- SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) 1800 199 888
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service + 61 9442 5000
How to talk to someone who is distressed
There is no correct procedure for helping someone who is distressed. Each of us will have our own style of approaching and responding to others who are distressed. Some of us might have more experience with people who are upset or become emotional, others may have little experience and therefore feel less sure of how to best help. It is important to know your personal limits as a friend or helper and be willing to ask for help yourself when you need it.
If you are in a situation where you need to help someone who is distressed, or if someone who appears to be distressed or unhappy approaches you to talk about personal problems we suggest the following approaches:
- If you can, request to talk to the person in private. If you are in a public space look for a more private place to talk, or ask someone if there is a quiet, safe place to talk. Don't choose an isolated place, keep others in view in case you need help.
- Speak directly, honestly and warmly.
- Ask the person if they have talked to anyone else about their distress, such as family or friends. If they have not, ask them if they have someone in mind they could talk to.
- If you have initiated the contact after being concerned for a person, express your concern in behavioural, nonjudgmental terms. For example, "I've noticed you've been absent from class lately and I'm concerned," rather than "Where have you been lately? You should be more concerned about your grades." or "I notice you were tearful after class earlier is there anything I can do to help?"
- If the person is willing to talk with you, listen to their thoughts and feelings in a sensitive, non-threatening way. Communicate you are listening and understand by repeating back a summary of what the person is concerned about and clarify that you have got it right. Try to include both the details of their concern and how they are feeling or coping. For example, "It sounds like you're not accustomed to this much work in so short a period of time and you're worried about failing" Or "So you received your results yesterday and are upset with the outcome and are not sure what to do next."
- It is important to respect the persons experience even if you think they are overreacting or behaving inappropriately. Avoid judging statements or challenging what they are saying.
- If you notice a person behaving inappropriately or in a strange manner don't avoid addressing this. Talk directly to them about your observations.
- Do not discuss your concerns with other people. If you feel you need to consult with someone else tell the person you need to get help and will do so in a private and confidential manner. Ask the student to wait and provide them somewhere comfortable to do so.
- If the person appears to not be able to manage on their own, do not leave them alone. Ask someone else to get help.
How to talk with someone who indicates they are thinking of suicide
If you become concerned that a person is suicidal, ask to speak with them confidentially and ask the following questions that a health professional would also use to assess risk:
- Do you have a plan for exactly how you would act on these thoughts?
- When and where do you intend to carry out the plan?
- Have you ever attempted suicide before?
The more specific and fatal the persons plan, and if they have previously attempted suicide before indicates a higher the risk that they may act on their plan. Don't be afraid to ask these questions they will not 'plant' ideas in the persons head about suicide. If they are already thinking about suicide talking directly about their intentions in a matter of fact way is important. Remember that many people consider suicide from time to time. Thinking about death as a way of coping with pain and stress is common. Less specific and fatal plans probably indicate that a suicide attempt is less likely. If a person does indicate they are thinking about suicide always refer them to professional help. On campus you can take them to the Student Counselling Service, ND9. You can also request permission from the person to contact a family member or friend to come and take them to see a GP or Emergency Services. If no other help is available call Lifeline 13 11 14 or one of the Emergency Services listed above. You can also take the person to the closest hospital emergency department.
What do I do if I feel at risk of being harmed by someone or that someone is at risk of harming others?
If you are concerned that someone will harm you or others, try and ask someone for help immediately and call the Police 131 444 or 000.
I need support for Special Consideration, Deferred or Irregularly Scheduled Exams & Retroactive Withdrawal
There are many reasons that students might require special assistance during the course of their degree. Any special assistance is guided by the university's policy on Special Consideration, Deferred or Irregularly Scheduled Exams or Retroactive Withdrawal. It is important that you read these policies and regulations before submitting an application for assistance.
It is usually useful to discuss your application with your faculty before submitting your application as they will be able to guide you to the correct information and advise you as to whether your situation meets the criteria set out in the regulations.
Our counsellors provide a number of services to help you submit your application for assistance:
Help in understanding the regulations,
Help in deciding what the best option may be for you
Help completing the necessary forms
It is your responsibility to provide documentation to support your applications for Special Consideration, Deferred or Irregularly Scheduled Exams or Retroactive Withdrawal. If you can bring this documentation to your first appointment it may be possible to complete your form and return it to your faculty immediately. In some cases counsellor may be able to sign Special Consideration, Deferred or Irregularly Scheduled Exams and Retroactive Withdrawal forms without further supporting documentation. For example if you have seen a counsellor a number of times before applying or if you are able to clearly demonstrate a pre-existing mental health diagnosis. In most cases you will be required to provide further documentation before a counsellor will sign your forms.
Please note that when a Student Counsellor supports your application for Special Consideration, Deferred or Irregularly Scheduled Exams or Retroactive Withdrawal it does not necessarily mean that these requests will be granted. These decisions are made by the Administrative and Academic Staff of the University.
I would like a counsellor to advocate on my behalf regarding special circumstances or difficulties
If you are experiencing difficulties with your studies, it is always important to speak with your lecturer, tutor or course coordinator. Your issues or concerns can often be dealt with immediately by academic staff.
If you are unable to resolve your concerns or have difficulty contacting academic staff directly, the student counsellors may be able to advocate on your behalf.
Please note that when a student counsellor advocates on your behalf it does not necessarily mean that they will achieve your desired outcome. Academic staff will make decisions based on all the evidence provided including that from the Student Counsellor and within the University regulations.
I would like Assistance with appealing an academic or administrative decision affecting me
Students have a right to appeal against academic or administrative decisions affecting them. Please read the Student Appeals Policy to help you determine whether you can appeal a decision and how to lodge an appeal. Student Counsellors are available to support you during your appeal process should you decide to proceed.
Assistance with Grievances
The University recognises that students may wish to raise a complaint, problem, issue or concern (Grievance) relating to their current or past involvement with the University. Please read the Grievance Procedure and talk with a Grievance Officer for further information. Student counsellors can help you decide whether to lodge a grievance and provide support while your grievance is being heard.
I would like advice and support about my disciplinary committee hearing
If you are required to attend a Disciplinary Committee hearing our counsellors are able to offer you advice and support. They can help you prepare for the hearing and manage any anxiety so that you are able to state your case with confidence. Counsellors are also able to provide a debrief appointment after a hearing if you are feeling concerned or upset.
I am an Indigenous Student
We invite all indigenous students to come and meet with a student counsellor to discuss how we might support you in your academic and personal goals. You don't have to have a problem or be struggling to meet with us. We provide coaching and mentoring support that is specifically designed to be relaxed, conversational and supportive. The Student Counselling Service is committed to working sensitively and culturally with indigenous students. With a large indigenous staff group and the campuses presence for over 20 years in the Kimberley region, as an indigenous student you are part of an education environment that is here for you.
I am a mature age student
We understand that being mature age student takes a lot of skill and determination. Mature age students often have to re-train themselves into study habits whilst balancing multiple responsibilities at home or work. Sometimes balancing life's demands and academic expectations can feel overwhelming. We invite you to make an appointment with your counsellors to discuss developing good study habits as well as addressing any difficulties that you encounter along the way.
I have a disability
If you have a disability that affects your study in any way we encourage you to contact the University's Access and Inclusion Advisor at the Notre Dame Study Centre. You are also welcome to make an appointment with a counsellor if your disability is affecting your studies or personal development.
If the Student Counselling Service is unable to provide an appointment in a timely manner due to demand for appointments students will be referred to the following external agencies. If you require specialist or long term support our counsellors will also recommend an external agency to you or ask you to speak with your GP about a Mental Health Care Plan.
These agencies are not directly associated with the University. However the Student Counselling Service has a working relationship with these agencies and can help you make contact with them or communicate with them regarding your situation with your permission.
Counselling and Support Agencies
Private Counsellors and Psychologists in close proximity to the university
- Robyn Bradbury FAPS, Clinical Psychologist
14/39 Hamersley Street, Broome 6725 WA
Telephone : 0422 349 061
Mental Health Care Plans
If you need to access an external psychologist or psychiatrist you will be referred to your GP. You are encouraged to discuss with them your eligibility for a Medicare rebate through the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (Better Access) initiative. Better Access aims to improve outcomes for people with a clinically-diagnosed mental disorder through evidence-based treatment. Under this initiative, Medicare rebates are available to patients for selected mental health services provided by general practitioners (GPs), psychiatrists, psychologists (clinical and registered) and eligible social workers and occupational therapists. Please see the Department of Health website for more information about Better Access to mental health care.
If you do not have a regular GP you can contact the following local practices. You can also access crisis services at the following three hospitals.
Broome Medical Clinic
Address: 26 Robinson St, Broome WA 6725
Phone: (08) 9192 2022
Broome Doctors Practice
Address: 3/7 Napier Terrace, Broome WA 6725
Phone: (08) 9193 7933
Atoms Medical Services
Address: 8 Stewart St
Phone: (08) 9193 6769
Aboriginal Health Services:
Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (BRAMS)
Address: 2 Dora Street, Broome WA 6725
Phone: (08) 9192 1338
Broome Health Campus
Address: Robinson Street, Broome, WA 6725
Phone: (08) 9194 2222
Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Service
Address: cnr Anne & Robinson Streets, Broome WA 6725
Phone: (08) 9194 2640
- Robyn Bradbury FAPS, Clinical Psychologist
The following online resources are to help you better understand your symptoms or situation as well as providing strategies to help improve your wellbeing. You might like to look at the online resources before attending counselling. Some students will benefit from online resources and may not need to see a counsellor. If you do meet with a counsellor they might also ask you to access online resources and discuss what you learn from them in your counselling appointment.