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Chapter 9 Section E: Getting support as a carer

For information about general support services for carers, click here.

For information about support services for young people who are carers, click here.

9E.1: General support services for carers

There are a number of information and support services for carers of people with mental health conditions. The following are a few examples. You can visit their websites for more information about what they do and how they can help. Many of these websites also have information about other services and programs that may be useful to you.

ARAFMI provides information and support for those with family members and/or friends with mental health conditions or disorders.

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres provide free and confidential information on support services available locally and within Australia for both people with mental health conditions and their carers.

Family and Carer Mental Health Support Programs consists of five non-government organisations (NGOs) funded by NSW Health to provide Mental Health Family and Carer Support Services across NSW. There is one NGO service provider in each Local Health District. It is the role of these NGOs to provide:

  • Education and training packages which teach families and carers about mental illness and its management and help to build coping skills and resilience;
  • Individual support and advocacy services for families and carers of people with a mental illness; and
  • Infrastructure support for peer support groups.

A key role for these services is to provide support and information to families and carers during the early stages of diagnosis and treatment. To find out more about these programs and where they are follow this link

Mental Health Respite: Carer Support Program provides a range of flexible respite options for carers of people with mental health conditions and/ or intellectual disability. For more information or to find out how to access the program, visit the above website or call 1800 052 222.

Carers Australia: Mental Health Counselling Service: is a counselling service that provides an opportunity to talk to someone about your caring role. Experienced staff can help you find ways to cope with change, manage stress, balance work and caring, cope with loss and grief, deal with relationship change and access services, supports and information. You can call 1800 242 636* from anywhere in Australia to speak to a counsellor.

Sane Australiaconducts programs and campaigns to improve the lives of people with mental illness, their family and friends. Sane Australia also provides a helpline that can be accessed by telephone or online: Phone: 1800 187 263* or click here to go to the SANE Helpline webpage and follow the link..

Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc has a number of programs that assist carers and families of people with mental illness. The Schizophrenia Fellowship also has a telephone information service that can be contacted on 1800 985 944*.

*Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

9E.2: Information and support services for young carers

This page lists some services and resources that are specifically for young carers:

Kids Helpline provides counselling and referrals for young people 25-years-old and under. It has a 24-hour telephone helpline that can be contacted on 1800 55 1800*. You can also get help by e-mail or by using the Kids Helpline web counselling service. Click here to find out more.

Young Carers NSWprovides information on support and counselling services, has a section for young carers with families from non-English speaking backgrounds, as well as information for specific age groups.

Young Carers Australiaprovides information on how to get help and support, as well as how to deal with young carer-specific situations and associated emotions.

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) provides useful information to people who care for a parent with mental illness.

Young Carer Program, Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centresthis government initiative aims to provide young carers with a break from caring so they can have time to study. To find out if you are eligible, visit the website or call 1800 052 222* (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm).

Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program and the NDIS: the program assists young carers who need support to complete their secondary education or the vocational equivalent because of the demands of their caring role. A young carer is someone aged up to 25 years who is the main provider of care and support for a parent, partner, child, relative or friend with a disability. The program can help young carers with respite and information services.

* Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate

9E.3: Caring for someone with a mental health condition, illness or disability

Caring for someone with a mental health condition, illness or disability
Financial assistance and services are available if you provide care to someone who has a disabilitymental health condition, illness or is frail aged.

For further information about:

Financial assistance for carers

Carer Payment and Carer Allowance can provide financial assistance if you provide care every day to someone with a disabilitymental health condition, illness, or who is frail aged.

Carer Supplement is an annual lump sum payment to help you with the costs of caring for a person with a disability.

Carer Adjustment Payment can provide one off financial assistance to help you with the care needs of a child aged under 7 years after a sudden accident, illness or disability.

Child Disability Assistance Payment is an annual payment that helps you with the costs of caring for a child with a disability.

The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme can help parents and carers of school aged students who cannot go to state school on a daily basis because they have a disability or have special health needs.

Financial assistance for people needing care

There are payments to help you with the cost of medical equipment you need due to your disability or illness.

The Continence Aids Payment Scheme provides an annual payment to cover the cost of buying continence products from the supplier of your choice.

The Essential Medical Equipment Payment is an annual $140 payment if you experience additional increases in home energy costs from the use of essential medical equipment to manage your disability or medical condition.

Other government and community support services

There are a range of other organisations that provide support services and useful information.

Better Start for Children with Disability Initiative provides information about early intervention services and treatments for eligible children with disability.

Helping Children with Autism package website provides information about support and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their families and carers.

If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or stress, you may find it helpful to talk to somebody about your mental health situation.

The website connects you to information and services across Australia including information about caring for others.

The Carers Australia website provides information about the needs and interests of carers at the national level. The members of this peak body are from the 8 state and territory Carers Associations.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme website provides information about a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with permanent significant disability, their families and carers.

Updated January 30, 2015