March 2017
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Welcome to the autumn edition of the HelpingMinds newsletter

HelpingMinds has had a very busy initial three months in 2017. Our support services have been kept very busy. Our respite homes in Dongara and Rockingham are both being booked to near capacity too. As always our school holiday programs in January were in great demand and we have another holiday program running over the next school holidays too.
In addition to this we have been busy talking to both State and Federal Governments about the supports available in the Mental Health Sector. These supports have been changing with the NDIS rollout. On February 1st we were informed that the State Government had signed a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth to deliver a WA model of NDIS. There are now reports that this is being reviewed by our new Labour Government so we are awaiting an update on the outcome of any proposed review. In the meantime we will continue to deliver our services as we always have.
Last Thursday I attended the Mental Health Australia Advocacy Day in Canberra, along with our President Patrick Hardwick. We heard from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition as well as the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt. All are keen on bipartisan support for Mental Health and all acknowledged the importance for quality mental health supports to be available to all communities.
On Thursday I also attended the national launch of the University of Queensland report: “The Economic Value of Mental Health Caring in Australia” at Parliament House in Canberra. The report was commissioned by Mind Australia. The report identified the significant resource that unpaid mental health carers provide. It calculated that to replace all mental health carers over the age of 16 would cost in excess of $13.2 billion per annum. Considering that currently all mental health supports in Australia total $8 billion it shows us the vital role that mental health carers are providing our communities. On Friday the report was launched in WA which was well attended, there are more details about this further on in the newsletter.
HelpingMinds has been supporting Mental Health Carers in our communities for over 40 years with a variety of workshops and support groups, as well as education and advocacy. If you would like to arrange support services or a chat with one of Peer Workers please call us on 1800 747 100.

Debbie Childs
Whats On

There are a variety of regular workshops and support groups each week including:

Expressive Therapy Groups
An open peer support group for carers that uses the creative process of expressive & art therapies to improve and enhance our physical, mental and emotional well being in a safe and supported environment.  No art experience required. 

Support Groups
An open support & information group for people who have a family member or friend with a mental health issue.

Family Connection Groups
Family Connections is for friends and family caring for someone with BPD, however a formal diagnosis isn’t necessary and it can be useful for anyone who is supporting someone who is struggling with emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, self-harming and suicidality. 

Mum's support Groups (Fremantle)
Mums who are supporting young people aged 17-21 with a mental health condition. Please call 9427 7100 to speak with facilitator prior to attending to determine suitability for group.

Click here for all of the upcoming workshops

New minister for Mental Health

The Hon. Roger Cook MLA is now WA’s Minister for Mental Health and Health. WA Labor made a number of commitments to the mental health sector including:
  • Continued funding of independent and systemic advocacy.
  • Implementation of the WA Mental health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Services Plan
  • Youth Mental Health Suicide Prevention Peel Region
  • 0.1FTE for each school to oversee the delivery of the evidence based mental health programs in schools
  • Recovery Colleges
  • Additional acute and step up/step down beds across Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Peel, Karratha, Joondalup (details at the link)
  • The reinstatement of the Transcultural mental health service
Prior to the election, HelpingMinds asked carers and consumers what they most wanted from the incoming state government. We will continue to pursue the issues you raised and thank you again for taking the time to let us know what matters most to you and other families and friends in a caring role.

Please see the here
 for more detail of Labor’s mental health promises.

The economic value of informal mental caring in Australia

Speakers included Patrick Hardwick, Debbie Childs, Hon Alanna Clohesy MLC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health, Dr Donna Turner and a panel of peer workers and family members who have lived experience as carers
Friday 24th March saw HelpingMinds launch this new research report. A national first, the report commissioned by Mind Australia and conducted by Queensland University, reveals for the first time the contribution that informal mental health carers make to the Australian economy. Detailing both the amount and types of work these carers do, the report clearly shows the value they provide to the country.

If all ‘known’ unpaid carers ‘clocked off’ the equivalent amount of full time care would equate to 172,198 full time workers, at a cost of $13.2 billion, which is 1.7 times the current national expenditure on all mental health related services in Australia.

The event was well attended by carers and consumers as well as various organisations including MHC, MIFWA, DSS, Ruah, Neami National, HaDSCO, WAAMH, WAPHA, Health Consumers Council, Mental Health Advocacy Service, Subiaco Community Mental Health, Disability Services Commission, Carers Advisory Council and Black Swan Health.

The researchers and HelpingMinds would like to acknowledge all of the individuals and families who provided input into this report.  

HelpingMinds would also like to thank Olman and Cameron Walley for their Welcome to Country 

More information (including the report) can be found here 

School Holiday Program

The School Holiday Program runs every school holidays giving young carers a chance to be a kid and take a break from their caring roles. The program runs for 8-12yr olds and 13-17yr olds. The school holiday program is always a whirlwind of fun, excitement and friendship and this January was no different. We had outings to the movies, laser tag and the outback splash. Being the school holidays there were children everywhere but it was made easy because of the amazing group of young people attending our program.

The feedback we received from parents really gives us an insight to what this program means for our young carers. One mum telling staff “He always looks forward to the school holiday program, he can never wait for the invite to arrive in the mail. The school holiday program is the only thing he looks forward to throughout the term”. Another parent told staff “ he always comes home from the school holiday program absolutely glowing”

Read more about the school holiday program at the HelpingMinds blog If you want to find out more about the April School Holiday Program please contact our client co-ordinators at HelpingMinds on 9427 7100 or via 

Information for Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Carers (CaLD)

Carers who have English as a second language (CaLD Carers) face all the usual difficulties faced by carers, however CaLD carers may face additional barriers such as: 
  • language and communication difficulties
  • lack of understanding of community health care and disability support systems
  • a level of stigma around disability and mental illness
  • fears around lack of confidentiality - particularly in smaller communities

CaLD carers often experience difficulty accessing information on services that will assist them in their caring role. HelpingMinds have now produced the Talk It Out Program and the General Services information in the following languages.

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Hazaragi
  • Somali
  • Vietnamese
These brochures can be downloaded from the website here
The Mental Health Commission has a series of brochures that are useful to carers and consumers who come under the Mental Health Act (involuntary patients). These are also now available in multiple languages. The brochure that explains the rights of family members and friends/carers is titled personal support persons. Click here 

Recovering our Families

Recovering Our Families is an 8 week online course designed to support the recovery of families’ who face mental health challenges by providing coping skills and tools. The program is specifically designed to aid those struggling with emotional pain, whether that is a result of psychiatric diagnosis, undiagnosed extreme emotional distress, or even addiction issues.

This course can be funded by DSS, to find out if you are eligible please contact one of our client coordinators at or 1800 811 747

The next facilitated course starts 15th May 

The rights of carers

in treatment, support and discharge planning
The rights of carers in treatment, support and discharge planning. HelpingMinds has been working with the Mental Health Advocacy Service (MHAS) to provide feedback on the experiences of carers whose family member is an involuntary patient. Several families were good enough to share their experiences. MHAS also consulted with people who have lived experience of being an involuntary patient.

The feedback of consumers and carers has contributed to an ongoing project to improve the completion of treatment, discharge and support plans, hopefully providing greater opportunity for patients as well as family members and friends who are in a caring role to provide input and receive information and support. This assists carers to be in the best position possible to provide support when their family member returns home.

The project has highlighted the need for additional information to be offered to carers about their rights under the Mental Health Act and more generally in the mental health sector. HelpingMinds can provide carers with this information. Please check out our carers page for information about the Carers Recognition Act, links to advocacy resources and information about carer rights under the Mental Health Act 2014.

Thanks again to the individuals and family members who shared their experiences.  

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Nominations are now open for the WA Mental Health Awards 2017, celebrating individuals, organisations and groups that have made an outstanding contribution to mental health in Western Australia.

The Awards aim to:

  • recognise and reward the achievements of those who demonstrate excellence, innovation and initiative in supporting consumers of mental health services, and their families, carers and support people
  • showcase achievements in the mental health sector in Western Australia
  • inspire others to strive for excellence, and
  • promote a message of positive mental health.

Winners will be announced at a gala cocktail dinner on Thursday, 13 July, on day one of the WA Mental Health Conference at the Perth Concert Hall. 

The Family Centred Care Award presented by Helping Minds is for an organisation, group or project that has demonstrated excellence in a family centred approach.

You do not need to attend the conference in order to come along to the Awards Ceremony and Gala Cocktail dinner, however conference attendees can purchase their ticket to the Awards as part of their conference registration. For non-conference attendees, tickets can be purchased here. All finalists will receive one free ticket to attend.

Information on how to nominate, including a list of all awards and their criteria, and the Awards Terms and Conditions, can be found within this site, or by downloading the Awards Nomination Guide. Please take a moment to review this information before submitting a nomination.

You are encouraged to nominate any individual, organisation or group who you feel has made an outstanding contribution to mental health in WA!

Carers Online Survey

Murdoch University are conducting a study to establish whether feelings of gratitude influence the burden experienced by carers of people with severe mental illnesses.
We would most appreciate your assistance in understanding this important issue by completing the online questionnaire which can be accessed through this link:

For more background information about the study please click here 

This study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee Approval number: 2016/215


If you have any feedback about the newsletter or if you have any comments or suggestions please email
Copyright © *|2017|* *|HelpingMinds, Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA|*, All rights reserved.

182 Lord Street, Perth WA 6000  
P: 08 9427 7119 or P: 1800 811 747

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HelpingMinds (formerly Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA Inc ) · The Carers Centre · 182 Lord Street, · Perth, WA 6000 · Australia

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