Support Groups for Families and Carers
Carers have been attending support groups of the Schizophrenia Fellowship since its creation in 1985. Since then, volunteers have lead support groups that currently number over 50 across both rural and metropolitan areas of New South Wales.
While our organisation's name is the Schizophrenia Fellowship, we invite carers who are impacted by a loved one or friend having a wide range of mental health issues, such as bipolar, schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, depression, anxiety and etcetera.
Support groups are a group of people that get together and share experiences, problems, solutions, ideas & friendship. Some support groups are for carers only (a carer is somebody that has a loved one or friend with a mental illness) while other groups are open to everyone. The groups aren’t run by doctors but volunteers who have experienced mental illness or it has impacted on their life in some way in some way. Every group makes newcomers welcome.
To find out about the program that the Schizophrenia Fellowship has to support carers, click here Carer Assist.
Click here for a current list of all support groups
Some questions on carer support groups
Are these group meetings for those with a relative with schizophrenia only?
No. The carer only groups are open for anyone who has a loved one or friend with a mental illness which can include people living with bipolar, schizo-affective disorder, anxiety, depression, PTSD and others. It does not matter if you live with the loved one or if the person with a mental illness is your friend. We don’t have to disclose a diagnosis at our meetings and we don’t have to go into detail about the relationship we have with the person who has a mental illness.
I am a carer, can I bring my loved one along to a carer’s meeting?
No. Carer support group meetings are a place for carer’s to share and air- to raise concerns or fears that they may not feel comfortable doing in the presence of someone with a mental illness (it may be stressful or plain boring for a person with a mental illness).
What carer group members have to say...
“I was very scarred and emotional; my carers support group gave me strength to hang on. The speakers have provided relevant information that has helped us to start to sort through the mess. Touching base with other Carers makes me feel more “normal”. We had no idea there was so much available, we had been struggling on our own for what seemed forever. Every meeting I walk away stronger and better equipped to be a better carer.” -Gail
“From a Carer perspective which I was for 10 years; A support group saved my life. Having a group to attend and share with others with the same issues was extremely helpful. Being part of good support was in fact the beginning of me becoming involved in mental health which I have now been working for almost 20 years. It taught me to be proactive and move forward and deal with the difficulties of being a carer of someone with a mental illness.” -Pam
"My carer support group has helped our family by knowing that we were not alone while coming to deal with and accept our son’s illness. Talking to others, sharing our experiences as well as meeting the various guest speakers we have had from time to time at our meetings has been informative and useful for helping others seek help from various services that are now coming available." -Kate