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Support for families and carers

Living with mental health challenges can have a profound impact, both on the person experiencing it, and on family and friends who are caring for them. If someone you care for is living with mental health issues, especially if this is new for you, it is likely that you're already feeling worried, overwhelmed or perhaps wondering what lies ahead.

In Australia, around 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness each year. While each person's experience of mental distress is different, it is important to remember that treatment options are available, and many people recover fully or find that the symptoms can be well managed. Family and friends play a vital role in supporting someone with a lived experience and with good information, support and assistance, your caregiver contribution can be a positive and life enhancing one for everyone.
There are a number of positive things that you can do as a family member or carer, to help your relative or friend, which can also help in making the situation feel less stressful:

  • Find out as much as you can about the illness, medication and other treatments
  • Get to know the mental health service clinicians working with you and the support services available in your area
  • Learn about what you can do to assist your loved one to recover
  • Get emotional support for yourself or talk with other people who share a similar experience
  • Get practical support when you need it
  • Make sure you're looking after yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, taking breaks and exercising regularly

Family and Carer Mental Health Program

The family and carer mental health program focuses on improving the wellbeing of families and carers of people living with mental health challenges, as well as promoting the recovery of the people they support. Families and carers play a critical role in promoting positive mental health and recovery, together with consumers, clinicians and relevant professionals.

Carers need support, information and education to help sustain them in this role.

The program focuses on:

  • Family inclusive mental health services – through expert advice and consultation by specialist staff to embed best practice culture in service delivery;
  • Engaging and including families and carers in the service system and being responsive to their unique needs;
  • Providing education, training, individual support and advocacy services for families and carers;
  • Working in partnership with families and carers to improve awareness of and access to a diversity of services relevant to their needs.

The program provides comprehensive support for families and carers through the public mental health system and the community managed service sector, and links with existing local programs to provide a balanced and effective system of support.

In Northern Sydney Local Health District, Parramatta Mission provides specialist mental health family and carer services, including education, training, individual support and advocacy services.

Parramatta Mission can be contacted at 8599 4855 or email