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Deb Gleeson - 28 June 2018

Family, Friends and Carers tips for helping......

Family, Friends and Carers assisting a person living with a mental health problem…..here's some tips for you.

Mental illness can affect not only the life of the person with the illness, but also their close family, partners and friends. Significant people in a person's life are often a source of support with the illness. However, family, partners and friends may be faced with a loved one's mental illness without much information on ways to deal with it and its impact on their life.

Mental Health First Aid Australia have developed Guidelines to assist Carers in their role.

Here is an edited version of what is suggested, please use the link above and print out the Guidelines for your use.

  1. Know the illness. In order to be an effective caregiver for a person with a mental illness it helps to be properly informed about the person's mental illness. This includes knowledge about the symptoms, prevalence, risk factors and treatment options.  One of the ways to get information on mental illnesses and how to assist someone is to attend a Mental Health First Aid course, get more information here
  2. <
  3. Click on the links below for information
    1. Depression:
    2. Anxiety disorders:
    3. Schizophrenia
    4. Bipolar disorder:
    5. Eating disorders
    6. Substance use disorders
  • Understand the treatment and management. This can include, medication, psychological treatments, complementary therapies and self help strategies. It can also include knowing the triggers of the illness and making lifestyle adjustments. You can also develop systems of support for the person you are assisting and yourself.
  • Supporting the person when they are ill. Helping the person through a mental health crisis and planning ahead for times when they may become ill.
  • Helping the person to keep well and enjoy life. This is something that no one but family and/or friends can do for the person. Focus on wellness and positive behaviour, rather than illness and problem behaviour.
  • Taking care of yourself. Caregivers are at increased risk of becoming depressed and having other health problems. As a caregiver, you need to take care of yourself as well as the person, or you might end up feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. Although some caregivers report positive aspects of caregiving, this role can be very stressful at times.
  • Mental Health Partners recommend the MHFA Australia guidelines. You can access them here.

    Remember, Mental Health is everyone's business.