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Counselling and support for carers

It's easy to become isolated or lonely when you're a carer. You may be too busy to keep up with family, friends and people may visit you less often. Sharing your experiences with someone you trust – family, friends, neighbours, other carers or health workers – can help.

How can counselling and support services help me?

Counselling and support services may help you to understand and manage situations, behaviours and relationships that can be a part of being a carer. This help could, in turn, reduce the stress you may be feeling in your caring role, and perhaps help you to continue in this role for longer.

What types of services are available?

Counselling and support services can include:

  • providing short-term emotional and psychological support
  • offering guidance in your relationship with the person you care for
  • helping you to manage situations and challenging behaviours
  • offering grief counselling
  • providing advice to help protect your rights as a carer.

These services may be provided by qualified professional counsellors or other professionals depending on the type of support you need.

You may also consider using specialist carer information and advice services to support you in your caring role. These services will help you with information about:

Where are counselling services delivered?

In most cases, counselling and support services are delivered in community settings, or to you over the telephone. This is called 'phone counselling'.

What about carer support groups?

Carer support groups can also offer you a safe place to talk about your role as a carer. They can put you in touch with other carers who may be experiencing similar things to you so you can share advice and suggestions to support each other.

Carer support groups can sometimes be organised around specific caring roles and the situation of the person you care for. For information about these groups in your area, read about caring for someone with a particular need, or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

How can I access grief counselling?

When someone close to you dies you may have trouble coping with the intense feelings of grief. It might be helpful to talk about these feelings with someone from outside your circle of family or friends.

Grief counselling focuses on helping you to understand your grief and to adjust to life after your loss. It can also help you to understand the people around you who may be expressing their grief in different ways. Grief counsellors can also put you in touch with other services in your area that may be able to help.

The following two national support organisations — which have local branches throughout Australia — may also be able to help you cope with your grief:

  • The National Association for Loss and Grief Australia (NALAG) is an independent, non-profit organisation. They help individuals, organisations and communities to work through their loss, grief, bereavement and trauma to make sure they are as strong as possible afterwards. A range of links to local resources, education and counselling programs can be found at the NALAG website.
  • The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement is another independent, non-profit organisation. It is also the largest provider of grief and bereavement education in Australia. Visit the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement website to find out how they may be able to help you through counselling services, education courses and support information.

What if I feel like I'm not coping?

If you need to talk to someone immediately, contact Lifeline (24 hours a day) on 13 11 14.

How do I get these services?

Carers Australia delivers carer counselling and support services through a network of state and territory Carer Associations. These associations are funded by the Australian Government through the National Carer Counselling Program (NCCP).

How much does it cost?

Costs for counselling and support services vary depending on your circumstances and the kind of help you need. The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care in Australia. If your circumstances allow, it is expected you'll contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to do so.

More information:

You can find out more about counselling services available to carers by reading about counselling on Carer Gateway.

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Last reviewed: 30 June, 2015.