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6 Signs You Should Seek Counselling

Almost all of us experience 6 Signs You Should Seek Counsellingperiods of stress, sadness, grief and conflict at some point in our lives. So if you are going through such a period of life it can be hard to know if it’s time to seek professional help about the problem.

Contrary to the popular belief, one doesn’t have to be “crazy,” desperate or on the brink of a meltdown to go for counselling. At the same time, counselling isn’t usually necessary for every little problem life throws your way, especially if you have a strong support system of friends and family. So how do you know when it’s time to fix an appointment with a therapist?

Perhaps you have been thinking about seeing a counselor for a while. There are days you feel really low and feel like you need to speak to someone as soon as possible. Then other days you feel better and the thought of ringing a counselor goes away. But the underlying causes that make you feel low are still there and you inevitably feel worse again in a few days time.

It is normal to feel apprehensive about seeing a counselor for the first time. Also it can be hard to accept you might need help. Asking for help can make the problem seem more real: you can’t show that it’s all OK so easily.

As a matter of fact, most people can get benefit from therapy at least some point in their lives. Sometimes the signs are visible but at other times, something may feel slightly off and you can’t figure out what it is. So you drag on, trying to maintain your busy life until you realize that that life has become unmanageable. Before it reaches this point, here are six signs that suggest you may need help from a pro:

  1. Uncontrollable feeling of sadness, anger or hopelessness – These may be signs of a mental health issue that can improve with treatment. If you are sleeping or eating more or less than usual, withdrawing from friends and family, or just feeling “off,” discuss with someone before serious problems emerge which may impact your quality of life. If these feelings rise to the point that you question whether life is worth living or having suicidal thoughts, reach out for help right away.
  2. Feeling disconnected from previously beloved activities – If your clubs, friend meetings and family gatherings have lost their earlier joyfulness, it may be an indication that something is amiss, explains psychologists. If you’re disenchanted, feeling like there’s not a lot of purpose or a point or feeling a general sense of unhappiness, seeking professional help could help you regain some clarity or start in a new direction.
  3. Abusing a substance to cope – When you turn outside yourself to a substance or behavior to help feel better – these could be signs that you’re hoping to numb feelings that should be addressed. That substance could be drugs, alcohol, sex or even food.
  4. Your friends have told you they’re concerned – Sometimes friends can notice behavioral changes that are difficult to see from the inside, so it’s worth considering the perspectives of those around you. If your friends are saying anything on the lines of: ‘Are you talking to anybody about this?’ or ‘Are you doing okay? I’m concerned about you’ – these are the signs that something is wrong and you should probably take their advice.
  5. Something traumatic has happened – Painful events like death in the family, a breakup or job loss can be enough to require a bit of counselling. We tend to believe that these feelings are going to go away on their own, which isn’t the case always. Grief from a loss can affect daily functioning and even cause you to withdraw from friends. If you notice you aren’t engaging in your life or people around you have noticed that you’re pulling away, it is time you may need to speak to someone to unburden how the event still affects you.
  6. You are experiencing recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a rundown immune system – If we are emotionally upset, it can affect our bodies. According to experts – ‘stress can reflect itself in the form of a wide range of health issues, from a chronically upset stomach to headaches, frequent colds or even a diminished sex drive’. Sometimes unusual fitness issues like muscle twinges which seem to come out of nowhere or neck pain can be signs of carried stress or emotional distress.

Some of the benefits of counselling

  • Discussing your condition to someone neutral, outside of your immediate situation, can give you a new perspective and help you find a way forward
  • Speaking up with a trained counselor who is skilled at listening can help you to process difficult thoughts and feelings
  • You can gain a better understanding of who you are and a clearer sense of what you want and need
  • Sharing your worries with a therapist helps you feel less alone with the problem
  • A trained counselor can help you improve your relationships and your ability to communicate

If you are still not sure, the best way for things to become clearer is to do an initial phone consultation with a counselor. This way you can find out more about how counselling works and the counselor can help you decide if it would be beneficial for your particular condition.

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Who is eligible for free legal help?

Some of our services are available to everyone, while other, more intensive, services are offered to people who need it the most.

The best way to find out if you are eligible for our services is to contact us.

Free legal information available to everyone

Anyone can get free information by:

  • going to the Find legal answers section on this website – each topic has information about the law and who you can contact for more help
  • ordering our free publications and resources
  • visiting our public law library to access legislation, case law and other legal materials.

You can also get legal help over the phone. If we can’t help you, we may be able to refer you to other services who can.

Legal services for people who need it most

Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to:

  • give you free legal advice – in person, by video conference or over the phone
  • help you if you are at court without a lawyer.

To get a lawyer to run your case you must be eligible for a grant of legal assistance. To decide whether you are eligible we look at:

  • what your case is about
  • the likely benefit to you
  • if helping you can benefit the public
  • your financial situation.

If you are going through a separation or divorce that involves family dispute, you may be able to use the Victoria Legal Aid Family Dispute Resolution Service instead of going to court. You will only be able to take part if you or the other parent in the dispute is eligible to get a lawyer to run your case.

Legal problems we don’t give advice about

There are some things we don’t give legal advice about. They include:

  • business and commercial matters
  • building, buying and selling houses and land
  • defamation
  • intellectual property
  • pay disputes
  • work injuries
  • Wills and deceased estates.
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Tax Help program kicks off again

ATO Tax Help

The ATO Tax Help program runs annually from early July to October 31st. This free service is provided by volunteers who are fully trained and accredited by the ATO to assist with annual tax returns.

Who is Tax Help for?

Tax Help is for people on low incomes.

Are you eligible for Tax Help?

You are eligible for Tax Help if your income is around $50,000 or less for the income year, your tax affairs are fairly simple and none of the following situations applied to you in the income year 2012-13:

  • you were employed as a contractor (for example, a contract cleaner or taxi driver)
  • you were in business, including being a sole trader
  • you sold shares
  • you sold an investment property
  • you owned a rental property
  • you received royalties
  • you received distributions from a trust other than a managed fund
  • you received foreign income other than a foreign pension or annuity.

This information is from the ATO website. To visit the ATO Tax Help website click here: ATO Tax Help

Can I receive assistance with outstanding tax returns from previous years?

Our ATO volunteers are able to assist with previous years but the eligibility criteria above still apply.

How do I make an appointment?

Is Tax Help available in other months of the year?

The ATO Tax Help program only runs between early July and October 31st each year. If you require assistance outside these dates, our Tax Help volunteer may agree to offer guidance to enable customers to complete their own tax returns. The volunteer will not be providing the service as part of the official ATO Tax Help program.

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