It's important for people who are supporting or caring for someone with depression or anxiety to look after themselves, both physically and emotionally.
They need to stay strong and reliable, not only for the person they're looking after, but also for themselves. However, the constant, sometimes overwhelming, nature of being a carer can put a person at greater risk of developing depression.
The beyondblue guide for carers is a booklet developed by carers, for carers. Based on personal stories and experiences, the guide offers helpful advice and tips about caring for others and caring for yourself too. It also looks at understanding your feelings and the impact a mental health condition can have on you, your family and friends.
The guide covers:
- how to get through the tough times
- what worked (and what didn't)
- how to overcome a range of difficulties
- how to support the person with the illness
- how to access support for carers.
In addition, the beyondblue DVD Carers' Stories of Hope and Recovery features interviews with people who care for, or support, a friend or relative with depression, anxiety or a related condition. You can watch the interviews online.
Learn about depression and anxiety
This may help you to understand why a person with the condition behaves in a certain way. It may also help you to separate the condition from the person and to realise that the person's mood or behaviour is not necessarily directed at you. You can explore the pages of this website through The facts. You can also contact our support service for information and advice.
Take time out
As a family member or friend of a person who is experiencing depression and/or anxiety, it's important to look after yourself too. Make sure you spend time to unwind and do things you enjoy.
Talk to someone
It may be helpful to talk to your friends or family members about how you're feeling in your role as a supporter or carer. If you're having trouble coping and don't feel comfortable talking with the people you know, talk to a counsellor.
Support for carers
If you're living with, or caring for, someone who is experiencing depression or anxiety, you may feel isolated sometimes and friends or other family members may not understand the position you're in. Try talking to people who are in a similar situation or seek out services that provide education and support for carers of people with mental health conditions.
Useful organisations for carers
- Carers Australia is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the lives of carers through important services like carer counselling, advice, advocacy, education and training.
- Mental Health Carers Arafmi Australia (MHCAA) provide specialist mental health support to families, carers and their friends. Support includes: linking people to other carers who can offer face-to-face peer support, education services with other carers, and advocacy services which help carers to identify and find solutions to their challenges.
- Carer Advisory and Counselling Service provide family carer support and counselling. Contact your state or territory branch of Carers Association on 1800 242 636 (free call from landlines).