Got a lot going on?

No shame in talking it out

The Australian Aboriginal Flag and Torres Strait Islander Flag

Mental health is like a tree

To stay strong and healthy it needs looking after. You need to take care of the roots of the tree for it to grow tall and stand strong.

mhaw tree and tips 8b mhaw tree and tips 8b

Adapted from Menzies School of Health Research – Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative.

You might notice changes

When we’ve got a lot going on we can feel sad, weak, tired, stressed and angry. Everybody has these feelings when life is tough, but when these feelings go on for a long time it can weaken our body, mind and spirit. When this happens, there are some changes you might notice, like:

  • Feeling sad inside and no interest in doing things
  • Feeling like everything is an effort
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Not eating good tucker
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Feeling nervous or jumpy
  • Feeling guilt or shame
  • Being so sad nothing can cheer you up
  • Crying and you don’t know why
  • Being quick to get wild and angry
  • Having trouble focusing or remembering things
  • Having too much alcohol, gunja/yandi and other drugs
  • Having bad thoughts or thinking of dying

You can keep yourself strong by:

  • Yarn with friends and family about what’s going on
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating good, healthy tucker
  • Staying connected with family and friends who give you strength and support
  • Practicing culture through local totems and stories
  • Spend time with local Elders to learn history, go on country, and learn art and crafts
  • Reconnecting with country by going camping, hunting, fishing, swimming or surfing
  • Taking time out for yourself to do things you enjoy like a hot bath, bush walk or drawing
  • Making deadly choices and good changes
  • Setting yourself goals
  • Staying connected to your physical body by playing sports, music or dancing

Having ways to practice culture, language, and spiritual beliefs can make you feel proud and keep your spirit strong and your mind positive and resilient. Sometimes your community isn’t on traditional country but you can still get involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture by sharing stories with local Elders and discovering local history.

Look after yourself

If you have noticed a change in yourself or a friend, it can be helpful to yarn with someone:

mhaw youcloud 8b mhaw youcloud 8b

How headspace can help

headspace is your space to yarn safe. headspace can help you or a friend with any problems you have with; physical health, mental health and wellbeing, drugs and alcohol, work, school and study.


headspace has centres where you can yarn to someone face-to-face, or you can contact our online and telephone support service, eheadspace or 1800 650 890. Remember, if you or a friend have a big worry and need urgent medical help, you need to call 000 straight away.


Download Mental Health and Wellbeing fact sheet

Relationships | Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People's or young people

Find Out More

Alcohol and Drugs | Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People's or young people

Find Out More

Stress and Pressure | Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People's or young people

Find Out More

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