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