Mary is a full-time carer for her son James, 25 who has a mental illness. The COVID-19 restrictions became a stressor for her son, enough to trigger a relapse of his bipolar disorder and he required a short-term hospital admission at Cumberland Hospital.
While James was able to get the care he required, the pandemic was also taking its toll on Mary too. Like others Mary embraced strict hygiene in the home and utilised ‘telehealth’ for phone calls with James’ case manager instead of face-to-face visits.
The isolation and lack of opportunities to mix with family and friends led Mary to contact the WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health Program.
The program coordinator Cathy Kearney has been the driving force for this Western Sydney Carers Mental Health Service for the past nine years.
“We recognise that during this difficult time many people have had to observe the physical and social restrictions which have affected their health and wellbeing,” Cathy said.
“Physical distancing has impacted not only on our mental health patients – but also on their carers.
“If carers are feeling overwhelmed and isolated, we encourage them to contact the WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health program for support.”
Family & Carer Mental Health program at Cumberland Hospital is a free program provides mental health support and advice by phone, by post or email. They will also advise on the recent Commonwealth Government announcements about sourcing and collecting prescribed medications during social restrictions.
The program provided Mary with ongoing support and advice.
“They have helped us through the isolation lock down and provided support on how to manage James’ regular doctors’ appointments,” Mary said.
The Family and Carer Mental Health program provides support and assistance for mental health carers who are experiencing distress due to COVID-19. This program is in addition to the WSLHD COVID-19 Let’s talk helpline.
The WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health Program partners with Transcultural Mental Health Centre and Parramatta Mission to provide support and resources for families and carers including from non-English speaking communities.
If you care for someone with a mental illness and you are a carer who needs support, contact the WSLHD COVID-19 Let’s Talk free mental health phone service between Monday – Friday from 8.30am – 5pm on 8890 5236 and ask for the WSLHD Family and Carer Mental Health Program.
Please note, this is not a crisis service.
For 24-hour crisis services, please contact:
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Carer Gateway 1800 422 737
WSLHD Family Mental Health Program 9830 3000 (Monday to Friday)
For information and advice on COVID-19, contact:
National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080
Health Direct: 1800 022 222
For more information or to provide feedback on the new WSLHD Carer website, please email WSLHD-CarerProgram@health.nsw.gov.au.
Visit the NSW Health website for the latest COVID-19 information by clicking here.