Wellways has a strong tradition of providing information and support for families and carers through family education programs, respite and individual support within Family Services programs.

A recent review of best practice in this area lead to the development of a service model for families and carers that incorporates the notion of family recovery and integrates a supportive response across the whole service, including our consumer-based programs.

Recovery for families means that they are able to have a meaningful life with or without mental health issues in their lives. Families and carers are impacted by reduced social connections, loss of identity, loss of hope, lack of meaning, reduced power in their own lives, and are often traumatised by the experience. Addressing these issues in a pro-active manner allows families and carers to learn to take care of themselves effectively so they can lead a fulfilling life, as well as effectively support the individual in their recovery.

Wellways workers invite consumers to put them in contact with their family and carer at their first point of contact. Families and carers are then provided with information about the service their loved one is receiving and asked about their own needs through the use of an assessment tool called ‘Carer Star’. Based on the results of this conversation, if support is required, families and carers are either referred to Family Services for social integration, family education or one-on-one support, or referred externally to other services such as Centrelink. 

This model is being implemented across the organisation. Training has been completed in Victoria, with Hobart, Launceston and Burnie scheduled within the next month. The process will be completed with NSW, ACT and Queensland receiving training.