Mental health carers

A carer is someone who provides support to a person with a mental illness.

As a carer, you may be the person’s wife, husband, partner, son, daughter, sister, brother, parent, relative, neighbour or friend.

Children and young people may also be carers, particularly when there are few other family supports.

Mental Health Carers Experience Survey (CES) 2021 Report

The Office of the Chief Psychiatrist is pleased to share the Mental Health Carers Experience Survey Report for 2021 (PDF 2223KB). The CES is a nationally endorsed questionnaire, and this first report establishes a benchmark against which improvements can be measured.

The Statewide CES report is the culmination of months of work under the leadership of the OCP in partnership with Carer Champions from each Local Health Network and the active involvement of staff at local mental health services across South Australia.

We acknowledge the contribution of the mental health carers who gave their honest and open feedback about their experiences.

Action Plans have been developed based on CES outcomes to help services to improve carers’ experience.

Carer feedback is a great opportunity for quality improvement!

The survey

The Mental Health Carers Experience Survey (CES) is your chance to tell us about your experience with our mental health services.

It’s about your experience as a carer rather than the experience of the person you care for. Its purpose is to gather information about carer’s actual experiences. The combined information from many carers helps mental health services improve the quality of the care and support provided.

Mental health services in South Australia have implemented the CES, which provides a snapshot at the statewide level of the experience of carers of people receiving mental health care in the public system. If you’d like to provide feedback, please ask a staff member at the mental health service or email the OCP Lived Experience Team to request a copy of the survey.

In this video we hear from Leanne – a family carer who explains the importance of providing feedback through the CES.

Are you a carer aged under 25?

There are many young carers across South Australia, and some access great support in the community to help them out when needed.

See below for more details:

About carers

Carers may live with the person they are caring for and provide assistance with daily needs, or they may assist the person by visiting regularly and assisting in a variety of ways.

The carer’s role can include:

  • assisting the person to regain a sense of purpose and connection with their life
  • providing emotional support
  • assisting the person to stay in touch with others and encouraging social activities
  • helping out in practical ways, such as cleaning, shopping and food preparation
  • helping the person to understand their mental illness and encouraging attendance at appointments
  • encouraging the use of medication, when prescribed
  • making regular phone calls to the person to stay in touch with them
  • assistance with personal business affairs, such as bill paying and Medicare claims

Information and support for carers

Are you looking for the answers to a few basic questions?

Interested in being part of a carer advisory group or carer network?

Organisations that may be able to assist you:

Resources for carers

“The Bond We Share” Experiences of Caring for a Person with Mental and Physical Health Conditions: A Resource for Mental Health Services, Primary Health Care, Educators and Carers

This resource has recently been developed in collaboration with South Australian carers of people with a mental illness. The resource, comprising a DVD and book, aims to educate service providers, clinicians, students, NGOs, public and private sector workers in understanding mental illness from the carer perspective. It will assist workers in effectively supporting and working with carers and will aid new carers in understanding what is involved in the journey.

Further information on this resource (including purchase information) is available from the Flinders University, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit.

Carer consultant

For statewide carer issues, SA Health has employed a carer consultant to liaise with carers and carer organisations in relation to mental health service reform and planning.

If you have any concerns, comments or suggestions about carers, please contact the carer consultant on (08) 7117 9885.