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Dealing with life events

9-minute read

If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts and is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000). For help and support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Key facts

  • Challenges such as job loss, grief, accidents, or relationship issues can lead to stress and sadness, even thoughts of suicide.
  • Happy events like having a baby or marriage can also trigger feelings of depression.
  • Seek support from a counsellor or doctor if life feels overwhelming.
  • Signs of struggling include appetite changes, loss of interest, anxiety, mood swings, and low energy levels.
  • Coping strategies include confiding in someone, self-care, journaling, relaxation and exercise.

When might I struggle with life?

If you, or someone you know, is having suicidal thoughts and is in immediate danger, call triple zero (000). For help and support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Everybody, from time to time, has things that go wrong in their lives.

They could be money worries, job loss, a death, an accident, or the breakdown of a relationship. But sometimes even happy events such as the birth of your baby or planning your wedding can cause you to feel like you are struggling with life.

When you are feeling low and struggling to cope, you might feel overwhelmed, anxious, become depressed or even have suicidal thoughts.

What are some signs that I am struggling with life?

You may be struggling if you experience:

  • changes in your appetite, sleep or energy levels
  • thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • isolating yourself from others
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • always feeling anxious or worried
  • difficulty managing your emotions, such as feeling angry or irritable often
  • losing interest in things you used to enjoy

What are some tips that can help you cope?

Here are some strategies you can try if you are feeling low:

Talk with your family or friends

Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. It can feel reassuring when someone listens and helps you work through your issues.

You may also find it helpful to speak to someone from a counselling service. Speak with your doctor who can refer you to one.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

If you need to cry, then cry

Do not feel ashamed if you cry. Crying relieves tension and can help you ‘move on’.

Stick to your routine

Keeping up with your usual work and home life can help take your mind off your worries.

Try to resist the urge to stay in bed all day. Get up and go about your usual activities if you can.

Keep a diary

Write down what you’d like to achieve each day. Tick off what you get done. Focus on all the positive things you do. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t achieve all you had planned. You can begin again tomorrow.

You might also like to write down your feelings and whatever else comes to mind. This can help you understand what is bothering you.

Look after yourself

Look after yourself. Try to eat healthily and get enough sleep. Cut back on alcohol and avoid drugs. Do something you enjoy and makes you feel good, even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day.


Regular exercise helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Exercise can also improve your health and boost your mood.

Choose a type of exercise you enjoy. Make it a part of your routine.

Read more about getting active and starting to exercise.

Learn relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques can help reduce your stress levels.

Examples of techniques include deep breathing exercises, guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation.

Learn more about relaxation techniques to improve your wellbeing.

A free mindfulness app such as Smiling Mind can help get you started with relaxation techniques, which can help you reduce stress.

Keep communicating

If a relationship with a partner or family member is causing problems, talk to them and try to resolve any issues. You may also find it helpful to talk to someone from a specialist organisation such as Relationships Australia.

Where can I get help if I feel that I am struggling?

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

Online support:

  • ReachOut — a safe place for young people to express themselves online and anonymously.
  • Black Dog Institute — for people affected by depression and extreme mood swings.

Do you prefer to read in languages other than English?

Looking for information for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people?

  • 13YARN — to speak with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander crisis supporter. Call 13 92 76.
  • Wellmob — to have a yarn with an Aboriginal Health Worker at the local clinic.

Looking for information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds?

  • Headspace has mental health information and resources for multicultural young people.

Resources and Support

  • For advice and to get connected to local mental health services, call Head to Health on 1800 595 212. Check the operating times.
  • You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If you are worried that someone close to you is struggling you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, reach out via text on 0477 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Learn about Australian Mental Health Services on our Healthdirect webpage.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2024

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