‘Being a mental health carer is lonely, frustrating, emotionally exhausting and dehumanising…Of all the roles I’ve had in my life, this is by far the most challenging, exhausting, stressful, and poorly supported’ (A carer).
Mike Seward, Executive Director of Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA states, ‘We have a 36 year history of supporting carers and family members of people with a mental illness through counselling, respite, education, and peer support. The new funding will enable us to expand our peer support services. I am pleased to be alongside my state partners in the PHaMs grants’.
In a media release the Commonwealth Government stated, ‘This investment recognises that carers and families need flexible and responsive support options including the ability to take short breaks from their caring roles, participate in community and social activities, engage in peer support groups and education, or receive counselling and advice, all contributing to their own health and wellbeing.’
One in four Australians will experience a mental illness over the period of their lives. When you think about it, it is therefore true that many more Australians will provide care and support during the critical times of this illness. Many people feel alone and isolated in their carer role. However, you are not alone, Arafmi’s around Australia are here to help.
Peer support services offer carers the opportunity to talk to another carer about the many worries that may present when a family member or friend becomes unwell with mental illness. Peer Support workers are someone you can go to for support, information and referrals.
Sometimes it can be helpful to talk to someone in person, who can listen and be there for you. ‘It’s so good to talk to someone who’s been through something like me.’ (Carer)
Carers need to look after their own mental health and wellbeing, and the MHCAA member organisations have expertise in supporting mental health carers. To seek mental health carer support in your state or territory, go to: http://www.arafmiaustralia.asn.au/contact-services.html
About Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Australia
The Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Australia’s mission is to represent at national level the interests of ARAFMI groups throughout Australia and the needs and concerns of their constituency – families and others voluntarily caring for people with mental illness. MHCAA member agencies are the leading mental health carer support agencies across Australia. They provide specialist mental health support to families, carers and their friends. Support includes: linking people to other carers who can offer face to face peer support, education services with other carers, and advocacy services which assist individuals to identify and find solutions to their challenges.
For further information go to www.arafmiaustralia.asn.au/ or contact Jane Henty on (03) 9457 7130 or email email@example.com
 Reference: Mental Health Carers Australia, 2012, Recognition and Respect- Mental Health Carers Report, Australia