Families and Carers

One Door experts share the importance of families and carers in supporting people living with a mental illness. 24 Apr 17

Families and Carers

One Door Mental Health puts carers and families at the centre of all that we do. We believe we need to engage and empower carers to support their loved ones. However, they also need support and information, particularly as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolls out across Australia. One Door Mental Health strives to help carers, and the people they care for, prepare for and access the NDIS and other services that help them achieve their life goals.

What is a carer?

A carer is someone who provides usually unpaid, care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness or chronic condition.

Why are carers important?

Across Australia, it is estimated that there are more than 2.8 million unpaid carers. Carers contribute more than $60 billion each year to Australia in their caring role.

Carers have been reported to have the lowest wellbeing of any group in Australian society - with poorer health, social and employment outcomes. This is associated with foregoing employment and social opportunities in order to fulfil their caring responsibilities.

The health of a carer not only impacts their own healthcare costs but also their ability to care for the individual and the associated cost to the health and/or disability sector.

What are the issues?

Support for carers is essential to maintain the health and wellbeing of carers. Carer supports include support for the entire network or family, and includes one form of support, known as respite.

A number of Commonwealth funded respite programs for those caring for people with a psychiatric disability are in scope for transition to the NDIS over the next three to five years.

For example, funding which has gone to Respite Services, Mental Health Respite Carer Services, and the On Fire program aimed at young carers, will transition to the NDIS funding.

Under the NDIS, individuals with an NDIS package can receive respite funding for their carer. This will replace the current situation where respite is provided to the carer without the need for the consumer to elect to use their NDIS package.

This means opportunities for mental health carers to be supported in their own right are decreasing.
Some people with a psychiatric disability lack insight into their condition, including lack of insight for the need of respite for their carers. These facts must be taken into account when developing strategies for the provision of respite services for carers of those with a psychiatric disability.

What changes are we advocating for?

•Quarantine funding for respite services from transition to the NDIS
•Maintain and further develop innovative, targeted support and inclusion of carers in the mental health system
•Invest in additional carer services, including respite, aimed at addressing socio-economic disadvantage, particularly for young carers

What services does One Door Mental Health provide for families and carers?

One Door Mental Health carer services are award winning (2006 TheMHS award for Carer Services). This is because our services are uniquely inclusive of families and carers. Importantly, at One Door we listen and, if we cannot assist, we refer to someone who can.

We are experts in carer support and have been delivering information, education, advocacy, support, and respite services to more than 10,000 carers since 2002. A good example of this is our excellent residential facilities for families and carers at Sanctuary Respite Centre at North Head, Manly.

Support for young carers 
Mental health carer respite services 
One Door support groups 

To speak to our One Door Carer Program Manager, please contact 1800 THE KEY (843 539).

Read a carer's story.