Caring for someone with mental illness
Many people look after someone with a mental illness – 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness at some time in their life. Their relatives and friends will often be the ones providing care, which might be for a short time or over the long term.
It can be particularly stressful to support a loved one who has a condition that affects their mood, thinking and behaviour. If you are looking after someone with a mental illness, you need help and support too.
Getting help for yourself
If you are stressed and need someone to talk to, call:
- Mental Health Carer Helpline on 1300 554 660
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
Lifeline has a tool kit for carers of people with a mental illness, which provides information about:
- the impact of being a carer
- strategies for supporting and sustaining yourself as a carer
- positive ways to help and support a person living with a mental illness
- carer’s rights and entitlements
- where to go for help
You can also talk with other carers on the:
- online forum for carers run by Carer Gateway
- online forum for mental health carers run by Mental Health Carers Australia and Sane Australia
Online help and information
If you would like to know more about mental illness and caring for someone with a mental illness, many organisations have websites that can help:
- HealthDirect has an introduction to caring for someone with a mental illness
- The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has information about mental illnesses and disorders and about caring for someone with a mental illness
- Sane Australia has information about mental conditions and treatment, and about support available for carers
- Black Dog Institute has information and support tools and information about getting help
- Mind has information about mental health services and information for carers
Access Services and Support
Carer Gateway provides a range of free services and support for carers.
By calling 1800 422 737 Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm and selecting option 1, you can speak with your local Carer Gateway service provider. They will talk you through the registration process and start the planning process. This process helps our staff learn more about you and your caring role so they can match services to your individual needs.
Help in each state and territory
Each state and territory also has organisations that provide support and services for people with mental illness and their carers.
Help in an emergency
If the person you care for has a mental health crisis, call your state or territory crisis assessment and treatment team for immediate help. These are:
- Australian Capital Territory – Mental Health Triage Service 1800 629 354
- New South Wales – Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
- Northern Territory – Crisis Assessment Telephone Triage Service 1800 682 288
- Queensland – 24-hour mental health care 1300 642 255
- South Australia – Mental Health Triage Service 13 14 65
- Tasmania – Mental Health Services Helpline 1800 332 388
- Victoria – Call emergency services on 000
- Western Australia – Mental Health Emergency Response Line (Metro) 1300 555 788 or (Country) 1800 676 822
Take a look at the Lifeline tool kit for carers of people with a mental illness
Visit the Mental Health and the NDIS website if you are looking after someone with a psychosocial disability
If you have feedback on the site, we'd love to hear from you.