Student health and wellbeing support

There are many health and wellbeing support services for international students in Australia.

Rights free image of people for use in creative assets which adopt Australia's Nation Brand.

Health services and support options ​

Australia has the 3rd best healthcare system in the world, according to the Commonwealth Fund Mirror 2021: Health Care in the US Compared to Other High-Income Countries.​​​

If you​​ ​experience ​any ​difficulties ​ ​such as stress, homesickness, culture shock, or illness​, there are​​ ​​​​​​​ ​​h​ealthcare professionals ​that can ​help.  

Search for a healthcare professional service near you

Seeing a doctor (GP)

​​Every city​​ and town in Australia has local ​​g​eneral practitioner​s​ (GP​s​)​. A GP​ is a doctor who has a broad knowledge of health issues. They should be the first person you see for non-​emergency​​ ​health care​, including physical and mental health issues​. ​Your GP​​​ will refer you to ​​the ​​​​medical ​​specialist​​s​​ ​​(​​doctors​​)​​​​ or ​​medical​​​​​ service​​s​​ you might​​ ​need.

Search for a doctor ​and​​ find out what questions to ask and what questions they will ask you.

Find out about a mental health plan​ and if you may be eligible​ for one​.

When to see a doctor (GP)

  • Treatment for common illnesses: This includes issues such as influenza, rashes, infections, or minor injuries. They can also help you manage existing conditions such as asthma.
  • Vaccinations: A GP can advise you on the necessary vaccinations for your age and circumstances.
  • Mental health: If you are feeling down or anxious, it’s a good idea to ​talk​​ to your GP about your options​ for support.
  • Sexual Health: A GP can run tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and prescribe medication if necessary. They can also talk to you about birth control options.
  • Screening and preventive care: GPs can check you for various conditions such as skin and prostate cancer and arrange further tests and scans if necessary.
  • Referrals to specialists: If your condition needs specialist care, your GP will refer you to a doctor who specialises in that area of medicine. 

Booking an appointment

When booking an appointment with a GP in Australia​ ​:

  • search online for a GP clinic or medical centre near your location​, and book online or by phone​​     ​ 
  • let the clinic know that you have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). This will ensure a smooth billing process.
  • ​​​request​ a ​​male and female doctors​ if you prefer​​    ​ ​     ​
  • ​​​tell ​​the​​ clinic if you ​​​​have a complex ​​​​issue ​​​​that might need a longer appointment (standard appointments are 15 minutes long).​​​     ​​​     ​​​​ 

​​You can also book a telehealth appointment when you don’t require a physical examination. This is the best option for times when you are contagious​, but you may need to have been into the clinic recently for ​​a telehealth ​​​​(phone) appointment to​​​​ ​​​​be allowed.

Using your OSHC

​​Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is health insurance for international students in Australia. ​​​ Some tips for using your OSHC include:

  • Before any medical appointments,​ find out what health services your OSHC policy covers and if there are any waiting periods. ​
  • Make sure you take your OSHC card with you to your medical appointments. Present it to the receptionist who will be arranging your payment. ​
  • ​​If you have any questions or need help with your OSHC, phone your insurance provider's helpline or visit their website for more information.​

​Costs and payments

The cost for seeing a GP can vary depending on the following: 

  • Bulk billing: Some doctors ‘bulk-bill’. This means they directly charge your OSHC provider. So, you may not have to pay anything. However, not all doctors offer bulk billing services so it’s best to search online for one that does. 
  • Gap payments: Your GP clinic will ask you to make a ‘gap payment’ if your OSHC payment is less than your doctor’s total fee. If there is a gap between the two amounts, you may need to pay the difference. You can find out the limits (or ‘caps’) on OSHC payments for different services or treatment costs.
  • Medications and additional services: Prescription medications and additional medical services, may have separate costs. This can include pathology tests or referrals to specialists. Your OSHC may cover some of these costs depending on your policy.

Tips to ​improve your wellbeing

Stressors can impact how you feel and how well you can cope with daily life. These can include adjusting to a new country, managing your studies and relationship issues.

Some common signs of poor mental wellbeing include feeling anxious, overwhelmed, depressed, lonely or isolated. 

To improve your psychological health, you can try some of the following tips: 

  • Prioritise your tasks to help manage your time more effectively.
  • Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep and rest.
  • Set realistic and achievable goals and celebrate your achievements.
  • Take regular breaks.
  • Join a student club or society or find a community group for your hobbies.
  • Stay connected with your friends and family.
  • Get help when you need it.

Visit our blog for more tips on improving your mental wellbeing.

Further support options

If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing, you are not alone. For urgent support, please see the list of helplines below. 

Otherwise, there are many resources and services available to support you. This includes resources in several different languages. You can: