HORSHAM’S Fiona Nuske has been her daughter’s carer since she developed mental health issues four years ago at just 13.
And, after attending The Mental Health Service (THEMHS) Conference in Melbourne this week, she has learnt even more about how to help not just her daughter, but also herself.
“I didn’t know who to approach or what support services were available,” Ms Nuske said.
“But at the conference, they encouraged carers to approach the clinicians about care plans, not to hold back but to feel part of it.
“They told us it’s a lived experience, where you live through it with the person with the mental illness. They also said you need to look after yourself as well as your loved one.”
Ms Nuske said she also didn’t realise caring for a person should also encompass the whole family, from the diagnosis through to the treatment and any crisis management.
“It also decreases the amount of relapses a person with a mental illness has,” she said.
Ballarat Health Services carer respite and support services regional manager Cheryl Hines organised 28 carers from Ballarat and Horsham to attend the THEMHS family carer forum.
The forum was opened by Australian Mental Health Commission chairman Professor Alan Fels, while SANE Australia chief executive officer Jack Heath gave the keynote address on “Inspiring Hope and Recovery Through Leadership”.
Other talks and workshops were on the NDIS rollout, strengthening the carer’s voice, carers and recovery and key legislation and service updates.