COPMI - Children of Parents with a Mental Illness - Keeping families in mind

Getting Help

Teenager on phone

Sometimes it can feel very lonely... But there is support out there if you look for it.

What kind of support is there?

Young Carers (click to reveal info)

  • ‘Young Carers’ are people under 25 years old who have a parent with a mental illness or other disability. They are called ‘carers’ because sometimes they have to do things that other young people don’t have to do to help their parent.
  • It’s not a very good term because most young people don’t think of themselves as ‘carers’.
  • BUT there are a lot of really good Young Carer programs and supports, so don’t be put off by the term if you see it.
  • If you want to talk to a Young Carer program in your area call 1800 242 636.


  • Talking about how you feel can really help. Remember you are not betraying your parent if you talk about how you feel.
  • Talk to someone you trust – like family or friends, or consider a professional like:

Support Programs

  • There are support programs for young people who have a parent with a mental illness.
  • Some are groups where you can meet other young people in the same situation as you.
  • Some are fun camps and activities.
  • Some teach you about mental illness.
  • Some are one-on-one counselling.
  • Search online for programs in your area or call Young Carers who can talk you through it all and find the best option for you on 1800 242 636.


  • Kids Helpline is always open and you can call them to talk about anything at all on 1800 55 1800.
  • Another good number to have is the Commonwealth Carelink and Respite Centre on 1800 052 222. They can help you find the support you need.
  • If you want to talk to a Young Carer program in your area call 1800 242 636.


  • Kids Helpline also provide support via chatting online and email!
  • eheadspace provides online and telephone counselling to young people aged 12 to 25.
  • ReachOut have a forum where you can talk to other young people about what’s on your mind.
  • There are Young Carers websites all around Australia:
  • Young Carers NSW Here you will find important information and contacts, along with opportunities to express your opinions and provide feedback. And there are games for when you feel like chilling out for a while.
  • Young Carers VIC The Respite Connections Young Carer team can help if you are at risk of leaving school or a job training program early because of your caring responsibilities.
  • Young Carers QLD Supports any Young Carer aged 10-25 year of age by providing free telephone and face-to-face counselling, giving information about available services and running support groups.
  • Young Carers SA Can help you balance caring, study and have a social life too. Checkout their website or call 1800 815 549
  • Young Carers WA This website provides information and advice for Young Carers on looking after yourself, coping with school and your caring role, supports you can access and much more! Plus, keep up to date with news and events that you can get involved in at Carers WA and have your say about how it feels to be a Young Carer.
  • Young Carers TAS Can’t get to school? No time for homework? Stressed out? Want to talk to somebody? There’s lots of info here, but there’s lots more once you register with their Young Carer Program.
  • Young Carers NT The aim is simply to provide young carers with an opportunity to talk through their issues, either with their peers or with supportive staff and adult volunteers.
  • Young Carers ACT They know that being a Young Carer can be tough - but it is important to know that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are people to talk to who can help. Call 6296 9900 to chat to the Young Carer Coordinator.Care Plans can really help

What is a care plan?

  • A care plan is something that tells you what to do and what will happen if your parent gets very unwell.
  • A care plan can help both you and your parent feel better and not worry so much.
  • It's a good idea to sit down with your family when you parent is well and do the care plan together.
  • Access a Family Care Plan for your family to fill in.
  • Access a Personal Care Plan for you (but remember to fill it in with your parent).
  • If you don't have a care plan always call 000 in an emergency.

How can I ask for a care plan?

  • Not everyone knows what a care plan is, so start by explaining that it is a form you fill in with important contact details and plans for if your parent gets very unwell.
  • Explain to your parent that it would help you feel better and worry less.
  • Plan what you will say, for example... “I get worried that something bad will happen and I won’t know what to do. I read about care plans and I think it might help. Will you fill one in with me?”
  • If your parent has a health or support worker, you could suggest asking them to fill out the care plan with you too.
  • You could also show your parent this website with more information about care plans.

How do I ask for help?

What do I say!?

  • It can be very hard to talk about how you feel and what is happening in your life.
  • Lots of young people feel shy or ashamed.
  • The first thing to remember is that you are not betraying your parent if you ask for help and you have nothing to be ashamed about.
  • If you are calling a service for help, tell them how you feel and what you are worried about. There is no right or wrong thing to say.
  • It’s the same if you are talking to a family friend, relative or best friend. But make sure it is someone you feel you can trust. If you don’t have anyone you can trust call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Do you want to read more?

Below are some extra links to information that you might find interesting:

  • Seeking help and feeling supported - extra information.
  • Kids Helpline for teens and young adults Includes web and email counselling, games, downloads, information.
  • headspace The national youth mental health foundation who help young people who are going through a tough time.
  • ReachOut Packed with loads of facts and info, stories, videos, blogs and forums to help you deal with whatever you’re going through.
  • It’s Allright Information about mental illness for young people.
  • youth beyondblue Information about depression and anxiety for young people.




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