December 2016
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As we are fast approaching the end of 2016 I have reflected back on what has been a momentous year for HelpingMinds. HelpingMinds started as ARAFMI in 1976 in WA, so for 40 years we have been there to provide a listening ear and support for Mental Health Carers and Families.
At HelpingMinds, we have a team who are passionate and committed about the services we provide whether it is Peer Support, Counselling, Education or Respite Supports throughout Western Australia.
HelpingMinds promotes mental wellbeing by supporting individuals, families and friends through the recovery journey:
·         We understand communities are important to the person living with mental distress
·         We understand every family is different and has different needs
·         We understand the importance of listening
·         We understand the importance of connections
·         We help build skills and confidence
·         We empower hope in you and your family through your journey

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our operational team as well as our Board who have all worked tirelessly to make sure that we are able to be here when needed. I would also like to thank all of our volunteers for providing their time to support HelpingMinds in 2016. And finally to each of our Members, thank you for being a part of HelpingMinds this year.

I wish each and every one a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year season and look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Debbie Childs
Chief Executive Officer

Carer Tips for the Holiday Season

For some, Christmas can be a time of joy, excitement, and love with family. Though for others Christmas may be met with some apprehension, particularly if supporting a loved one with a mental health issue.


Prior to Christmas, take some time to plan for potential difficult situations which may arise. Concerns for family and friends may depend on the person’s level of wellness over the holiday period. It is always helpful to remember the need for people to feel safe and belong is particularly important at Christmas.

Some points to consider prior to the holidays:
Talk to the person who is unwell and ask what would make it easier for them to attend family or social events. This may include:

  • Having a set time as to how long they need to be there e.g. 4pm-6.30pm?
  • Having a safe place to go to if the social event gets too much e.g. a private room in the house or a part of the garden where they can be alone.  
  • Knowing who is going to be there, and who they do not want to spend too much time with. In any family, there are some people who can be difficult to be around.
  • If they are a smoker can they smoke? Recognize that this is a coping mechanism for them.
  • Is there going to be alcohol? Is this going to be problematic for the person if they do not like alcohol or perhaps drinking alcohol can be problematic?  
  • Medication, does this make the person drowsy?
  • What has worked in previous years and what is sure to fail?

 If the behaviour of the person who is unwell causes concerns for other family members discuss:

  • What are the behaviours that they find difficult, talk about these and decide how each of you will cope. Educate family on how to cope with these behaviours.
  • Set boundaries with family members, and be realistic about these boundaries. If someone should avoid alcohol do not have other guests drinking alcohol.  

 If you set boundaries regarding inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour also think of what the consequences will be. Also:

  • Advise the person that if they choose to spend the holidays with you what those boundaries will be.
  • If the person can get agitated look at how you/they can cope and ensure that they have somewhere to go that is a safe place to chill.  
  • If there are triggers that upset the person try to avoid these.  

 Though for some it may be tough to understand, many use drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with difficulties. We may not all agree with this form of coping as we can see the increased difficulties it causes. However, take time to consider that often this is their only means of coping, and that some with drug or alcohol and mental health issues find it difficult to have caring and supportive relationships. Consider the behaviours in relation to drug or alcohol use that you can accept at this time of the year:

  • Talk to the person that you care about. What can you agree to?
  • If the person is unlikely to not abstain from alcohol can you have a small amount at home that allows the person to have a coping mechanism but hopefully prevent over indulgence?  
  • Think about the time that you can meet the person, perhaps breakfast or brunch is better and easier to avoid substances, suggest a neutral location for all family members.  
  • Rather than inviting the person you care for to your house where you would not allow them to have drugs or alcohol you go to theirs. This allows you to recognise their right to drink alcohol but stating the boundaries that you will accept.  

Support during the holidays:
As mentioned the holidays can be a very difficult time for many. For further support during this time please consult the following:
Lifeline (24hr support)-13 11 14
Crisis Care (24 hr support)- 1800 199 008
Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL-24 hr support)- Metro callers 1300 555 788, Peel callers 1800 676 822 (free call)

What's On 2017!!!
Using the creative process of expressive therapies to improve and enhance our physical, mental and emotional well being.
Join us in a safe supportive environment where we can come together, share understanding and create new meanings.  The Support group is an opportunity to spend some ‘ME’ time and to express ourselves non-verbally and explore our potential with like minded people.
The expressive therapies sessions will focus on:
•  Personal development and growth
•  Understanding ourselves
•  Identifying our strengths
•  Clarifying our values
•  Exploring our feelings
ET group held every 2nd Tuesday morning 10am–12noon.
Unit 1, 44 Mathoura Street, Midvale
ET Group held every 2nd Thursday morning 10:00am–12:00 pm.
Unit 6, 32 Endeavour Road, Whitfords

For further information please call 9427 7100 
or email

Are you struggling with trying to communicate?
Are you feeling frustrated?
Do you find it hard to set limits on the help and support you are giving and getting depleted?
This workshop aims to provide you with strategies to  communicate more effectively and increase your confidence to manage difficult situations.
This session is intended to be an informative, inclusive, and interactive experience for all involved and we encourage attendees to participate at their own comfort level
Effective Communication Strategies for Carers
Topics include:
Roadblocks, Filters and Barriers, Timing, and Escalation Prevention
Body Language, Tone of Voice, and Timing
Validation- a vital key to effective communication. What it is and how to develop this important skill
Friday,10th of February 2017

182 Lord Street, Perth
There will be a break halfway through each session and light refreshments will be provided.
If you would like to know more or to RSVP please contact: or 9427 7100
For more information on our 2017 events visit our events page, click here
Please enter an image description.Consumer and Carer Advocacy

Community Event, Workshop, Training Course, WAAMH Event

Please book for January or February!

Consumer and Carer advocacy is an essential skillset which can be applied both to supporting people and working with them to stand up for the rights of people with a lived experience, ensuring that people’s opinions and wishes are heard in matters that affect their lives.

People who have a lived experience of mental health services, whether as mental health consumers, their families and carers have a lot of valuable information to share on improvements that can be made to mental health services. Consumer and Carer advocacy is an essential skillset which can be applied both to supporting people and working with them to stand up for the rights of people with a lived experience, ensuring that people’s opinions and wishes are heard in matters that affect their lives.

This two-day workshop introduces a range of specific skills and provides opportunities for live practice in building the advocacy, partnership and leadership capacity of people with lived experience. It aims to foster and support a new generation of consumer and carer advocates and amplify their voices and participate in the co-design process to improve mental health services.

Knowledge is powerful, this course gives you the power. Tailored for consumers and carers, it has empowered me to be an advocate! - Sally Whyte

The Consumer and Carer Advocacy Workshop is suitable to beginners interested in starting out doing advocacy, representation or engaging with services and for those already active in these roles but would like to improve or enhance their knowledge. Any consumer, family member or carer would find this workshop useful, because some topics have not been extensively explored in Western Australia. 

The Workshop will be co-facilitated by professional trainers  with a lived experience. The Consumer and Carer Advocacy workshop is restricted to consumers, family members and carers only, that is, people who have personal experience of living with a diagnosis of mental illness or who have cared for a person with a diagnosis of mental illness.

Day one will cover:

  • Consumer Movement
  • Lived Experience Workforce
  • Human Rights
  • Advocacy
  • Consumer and Carer Self-Advocacy

Day two will cover:

  • Professional Advocacy and the Advocacy Relationship
  • Consumer and Carer Support for Self- Advocacy
  • Consumer and Carer Individual Advocacy
  • Community Advocacy
  • Consumer and Carer Systemic Advocacy
  • Systemic Advocacy on a Micro and Macro level
  • Navigating the Mental Health System

Our November and December workshops have sold out, so please book now for January or February, to ensure your place!

For more information please contact Hannah Harbinson on (08) 6246 3019

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The Increasing Member Participation: Advocacy and Co-design Training,’ project is provided by the WA Association for Mental Health in partnership with the State Government through the Department of Finance.

Copyright © *|2015|* *|HelpingMinds, Mental Health Carers Arafmi WA|*, All rights reserved.

182 Lord Street, Perth WA 6000  
P: 08 9427 7100 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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