Supporting someone living with a mental illness

You may be caring for someone who has been recently diagnosed with a mental illness for the first time or they are having a relapse of the illness. This can include changes in the person's thinking, emotional state or behaviour which can affect their daily life.

These changes can disrupt the person's ability to work or carry out their usual personal relationships. The person may also be at risk of self-harm, neglect, harming others or suicide. Many mental illnesses can be episodic in nature so the continual stresses of being a Carer may not be necessarily recognised or acknowledged by others. The person who is experiencing a mental illness may not know or admit that they are unwell or may even refuse help.This can be caused by fear, shame and stigma or not knowing what is happening to them.

Finding Support

The first step in seeking help would be to see a local general practitioner (GP) who is able to diagnose a mental health problem and provide treatment or refer the person to the most suitable service. A GP is able to make a referral to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment and/or psychologist for behaviour and lifestyle management. This will depend on the person's diagnosis, level of need and ability to consent and accept treatment.

If there is an immediate risk or crisis There are several ways to get help:

1. NSW Mental Health Line 

Anyone can call the 24 hour/ 7 days per week state-wide service to obtain advice on the most suitable service for their needs and availability in their local area. The service does not provide therapeutic interventions such as counselling and psychotherapy. Phone 1800 011 511

2. SWLHD Mental Health Services

Provide assessment, referral and/or treatment for children, youth, adults and older persons affected by mental illness.

Lifeline Australia provides 24 hour/7 days per week crisis support on the phone and online for anyone in need.

For serious mental health concerns such as self-harm, drug or alcohol overdose/poisoning, violence, intimidation, neglect, loss of insight due to psychosis or depression etc. Please call the services below. If there is an emergency , please Phone the Ambulance or Police through 000.

Other Help Lines

Recovery Point - An online mental health specific directory & phone app for South Western Sydney developed by the SWSPHN 

Useful Australian websites for information on mental health disorders, treatments, supports and recovery

Anxiety Disorders Support Groups -  Wayahead Anxiety Disorders local support groups
Beyond Blue Foundation - National Mental Health Promotion Foundation for help line, resources and information
Black Dog Institute - Research, Treatment & Information on mood disorders such as depression & bipolar
Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation for early intervention
Flourish Australia Provides psycho-social support for people with a mental illness not eligible for the NDIS

Lifeline Macarthur - Suicide Prevention, Suicide Aftercare & Suicide Bereavement Support

Mental Health Carers NSW - Peak Association for Mental Health Carers in NSW that can offer counselling
National Eating Disorders Collaboration - Information for people affected by eating disorders & their families and carers
SANE Australia - Information & online support for people affected by mental illness & their families and carers
One Door Mental Health - Carer Support Services
Tharawal Aboriginal AMS - Provides free social and emotional wellbeing programs and mental health support services
Wellways - Consumer Recovery and Carer Peer Education & Support Programs
New Access Program - Free short term therapy for people experiencing low intensity mental health concerns



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Last Updated: 20 June, 2019
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