New guide to working with mental health carers

People who regularly and voluntarily care for someone with a mental illness spend an average of 104 hours per week in their caring role, often with very little support.

To address this, a consortium of mental health organisations is developing a practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness. The underlying principle will be that carers are equal partners in care.

Consortium members include:

  • Mental Health Carers Arafmi (WA) Inc
  • Mind Australia
  • Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network Australia
  • Mental Health Australia
  • Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Australia

“The project will create a practical guide to assist service providers to work with carers in a meaningful, mutually beneficial way,” Mr Patrick Hardwick, President, Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA, said.

Gerry Naughtin, CEO Mind Australia, believes “This guide will be a huge step forward for carers and the people they care for. It will give providers increased skills, leading to greater engagement with and support for carers and better outcomes for consumers.”

Debbie Childs, Acting Executive Director, Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA, is encouraged that this project is now commencing and says “it is vital to realise the importance carers play in the lives of those with mental health issues, identifying their contribution and ensuring they are supported effectively is critical.”

The guide will also assist, guide and support providers as they engage people with chronic mental illness and psychosocial disability, their carers and families under a number of Australian Government initiatives including the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Partners in Recovery and the Personal Helpers and Mentors Scheme.

It will also have applicability to General Practitioners and others in a primary health care setting, including psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses and other allied health professionals. This project has been made possible through the significant investment of Arafmi WA and Mind Australia and the in-kind support of the consortia members.

The guide will be created following significant stakeholder consultation across the country and is planned for release in October 2015; promoting that carers are equal partners in care.

Contact: Debbie Childs 08 9427 7100. Patrick Hardwick 0412 231 309.

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