S3 E1: Carer’s Mental Health
Carers are incredible. Day after day they put the needs of their loved ones above their own. But what happens when the carer needs to be cared for? What can we do to make sure those who are caring for someone else know where they can go to get support, where can they meet people in a similar situation to them and where they can get some respite.
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Helen Sheather is a Registered Nurse with an extensive background in Paediatric Nursing, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention.
Most recently Helen enjoyed 6 years as a Coordinator for the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP). In July 2018 Helen took on the role of the Coordinator for Family Friendly Mental Health Strategy for the Murrumbidgee Health District. Throughout her career, Helen has practiced from a family-friendly perspective with a strong belief that family members and carers have a very valuable role in providing expert information and insight into the wellbeing of the person they are caring for.
Helen is responsible for coordinating the NSW Family and Carer Mental Health Program across the MLHD. The program aims to improve the wellbeing and health outcomes of families and carers and the people they support by ensuring that families and carers are:
- Included in the mental health care and recovery goals of the people they support
- Have options for support and receive the support they need to enhance their own wellbeing
- Have access to appropriate information in a medium that they can understand
- Are included as partners in the planning, development and evaluation of services
Helen can be contacted on 0438694192 or Helen.Sheather@health.nsw.gov.au
Elena Katrakis has been the CEO of Carers NSW since October 2006. Elena has a strong commitment to social justice and extensive experience advocating on behalf of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Elena began her career as a social worker. Prior to joining Carers NSW, Elena worked in the public sector for over 20 years, primarily in the areas of mental health and homelessness. Elena brings this experience to her role at Carers NSW, where she has a strong focus on young carers, and on carers of people with a mental illness. Elena is a member of the NSW Carers Advisory Council.
John Attard is a young carer who cares for his mother who suffers from mental health issues. He is studying community services, as well as being a carer advocate for the Western NSW Local Health District and a young carer leader.
A carer is anyone who provides care and support to a family member or friend who has a mental illness, disability, drug and/or alcohol dependency, chronic condition or terminal illness or who is frail.  Anyone can be a carer, regardless of age, culture or location. Many people in caring roles do not identify as a carer and can miss the opportunity to receive assistance from services and supports.
Facts and Statistics
National Rural Health Alliance. Fact sheet: Carers in the Bush – This report provides information and statistics on carers in rural and remote Australia.
SANE – has guides and resources for families, friends and others caring for someone with a mental illness.
Sane also has a Carers Forum where people can share their experiences of caring for someone with a mental illness.
Carers NSW – has a section dedicated for help and advice on topics that carers often ask about.
Lifeline – has a toolkit for carers of people living with a mental illness and answers to common questions.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 for advice.
Having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now? The following services are there to listen and help you out. They are confidential and available 24/7.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service– 1300 659 467
- Kids Help Line (for young people aged 5 to 25) – 1800 55 1800
Carers NSW – 1800 242 636
Carers NSW provides practical information for carers, as well as information about support groups and programs, insights into caring roles and advice for carers. The Carer Line (9am-5pm/Mon-Fri) is staffed by an experienced carer support officer who provides emotional support, referrals and information.
Carer Gateway – 1800 422 737
The Carer Gateway website includes information on caring for others and caring for yourself as well as an interactive service finder that helps carers connect to local support services. Carer Gateway also has a phone (8am-6pm/Mon-Fri) service that provides practical information and resources to support carers.
Mental Health Carers NSW – 1300 554 660
Mental Health Carers NSW provides a range of resources for carers of people with a mental illness.
OneDoor – 1800 843 539
One Door Mental Health is a mental health service provider specialising in severe and persistent mental illnesses, with services now accessible through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). One Door has phone service for information, referral and support (9am-5pm/Mon-Fri). One Door also provides services for carers including support groups, education sessions, online forums and assistance navigating the NDIS and mental health care system.