“It’s not until recently that I’ve actually disclosed to my family and friends that I was struggling with this illness for so long. My immediate family didn't really know. ”
Vanessa

Overview

Families can exist in many formations and sizes. A family member going through a difficult time may feel more comfortable talking to someone other than their immediate family or partner about it. It's not always a parent, brother or sister that a person feels most able to talk to about their problems; sometimes it's an understanding grandparent, aunt, cousin, or family friend, or school/work friend. The important thing is that they have someone to talk to. 

If you notice behaviour changes or feel like something is wrong with your loved one, reaching out first often helps. The way in which you help can vary, depending on your relationship with the person. Knowing how and what to say to someone feeling distress can help them greatly. Even if they deny they have a problem at first, they may agree to seek help in time. 

Many Australians experience mental illness in their lifetime. As family members, partners and friends, we can all help to support our loved ones through these times. Sometimes the best thing we can do is listen without judgement, ask what is happening for them, and help them to access professional support.

In supporting a family member, it is important to look after yourself as well. Take a look at our pages on support for carers, as well as connecting with family and how to support someone. We also have tailored resources below to help you get started.

Was this information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback. It’ll help us make Head to Health better.
Your anonymous feedback has been submitted. Please note: this is not a crisis support service. If you need help now, visit our crisis support page.
We’d love to know how we can improve Head to Health. Visit our feedback page to let us know how we can make your experience even better. Visit feedback page
Please note: this is not a crisis support service. If you need help now, visit our crisis support page.
We've already received your feedback for this page.
Please note: this is not a crisis support service. If you need help now, visit our crisis support page.
Page last updated 28th September 2017