Coping with stress and worry

Coping with stress and worry

Maintaining a healthy mind and wellbeing

Many people feel stress or worry about different aspects of their lives: it is estimated that one in five Australians experience a mental health concern (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2007). While many concerns are resolved without a need for external support, in some cases mental health requires the involvement and support of a professional such as a psychologist, social worker or counselling service.

The effects of stress and worry and a need for balance in the mind and body is true for all people, regardless of ability. Physical problems can be better managed when the entire body is well and balanced – mental health is a key part of this balance.

People seek support for reasons including:

Children and Youth

  • Behavioural problems
  • Students with learning difficulties
  • Assistance in coping with a disability
  • An adolescent with social difficulties
  • Parents needing advice and support
  • Implementing Positive Behavioural Support interventions with a family.

Young Adulthood

  • A young person dealing with sexuality issues
  • Individuals coping with trauma
  • Supporting people during times of transition or change in their lives, i.e. moving out of education, changing accommodation, moving into a ‘new stage’ of their life.
  • A young person contemplating suicide 


  • Couples and families with relationship challenges
  • A retrenched worker with symptoms of depression
  • Individuals struggling with long-term mental illness
  • Elite athletes seeking peak performance
  • People suffering from the stresses of modern life
  • People dealing with major health problems
  • A retiree coping with loss
  • Individuals battling substance use difficulties
  • Elderly people living with dementia
  • Coping with the loss of a person in their life, such as family member, house mate, or partner

Seeking support

When considering whether to access professional support for mental wellbeing, it is important to assess whether the situation is a crisis requiring immediate attention, or a concern that can be addressed over time.

Crisis support

When considering whether to access professional support for mental wellbeing, it is important to assess whether the situation is a crisis requiring immediate attention, or a concern that can be addressed over time.

If you are in crisis, seek help immediately.

If you are at risk or are actively engaging in behaviour that is causing you or others harm, immediate reporting to ambulance, police or Psychiatric Emergency Response Team or attendance at a hospital emergency department should occur.

Anyone experiencing suicidal ideations can present to a hospital emergency department at any time for support in keeping themselves safe.

Once a crisis has passed, continue to seek ongoing medical advice and support.

The below resources can be used anytime of the day or night to speak to a supportive person to help you through a challenging time.

Lifeline Australia- crisis support and suicide prevention
Phone: 13 11 14 

The Samaritans –24/7 anonymous crisis support
Phone:135 247

Support Across the Lifespan

People can benefit from support at anytime during their life. Sometimes just talking about concerns can help people to find the best path for them. Many physical problems can be better managed when you feel well and balanced. People with physical disabilities and those who support them often seek professional support for similar reasons to the examples below.

Ages 0-12
  • Behavioural challenges
  • Transitioning tasks
  • Adjusting to school
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Parenting
  • Family support around diagnosis
  • Adjusting to changes in lifestyle
Ages 12-18
  • Transitioning into adulthood
  • Leaving school
  • Peer relationships
  • Managing emotions
  • Self-Care
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Improving Quality of Life
  • Sexuality
  • Adjusting to situations and circumstances of life 
Ages 25-45
  • Maintaining mental wellness
  • Improving and maintaining quality of life
  • Relational challenges
  • Pain Management
Ages 45-on
  • Adjusting to new stages of life
  • Changes in support needs and independence
  • Grief and loss

Getting Support is Important

Psychologists use a variety of evidence based interventions that are chosen based on your goals and needs. Some common models and approaches include:

  • Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)
  • Strength Based Interventions
  • Solution Focused Approaches
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Group Therapy
  • Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Every person’s needs are different, regular sessions with a psychologist or social worker will help you to share your concerns and enable the professional supporting you to find the best way to help you.

If you would like a better understanding of how psychosocial services or other psychosocial services may be able to support you or someone else, please seek advice from a professional, such as a psychologist, social worker, medical practitioner or other allied health professional.

Allow your mind and body to work together

Many people with physical disabilities find stress and worry is related to their physical body’s concerns and the pain and fatigue they experience. Speaking with members of the psychosocial team while also working with other members of the health professional team appears to help many people find balance. This balance means people can do the activities they want to do.


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2007). National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being: Summary of results. Catalogue No. 4326.0. Canberra, ACT: Australian Bureau of Statistics.