Objective: Self-kindness, which is thought to be part of self-compassion, has the potential to contribute to mental health, as well as serve as a focus for interventions. However, little attention has been given to the potential role of self-kindness specifically, especially in the context of mindful presence and available social support, in buffering distress. Method: Structural equation modelling was used to test a theoretically based model of how these factors relate to each other and psychological distress. Participants were 592 Australian university students. Results: Results confirmed our hypotheses, showing that: (a) receiving social support is important to the capacity for self-kindness both directly and indirectly through the ability to "be present," and (b) the relationship between social support and psychological distress is partially mediated by the practices of self-kindness and being present. The model of social support, being present, and self-kindness accounted for half the variance in psychological distress. With the addition of stressors, a regression model explained a total of 62% of the variance. Conclusions: These findings have implications for understanding the construct of self-kindness and its role in the development of interventions to improve student success.