Families and Supporters


Lessening the experience of isolation and ensuring your voice is heard


Research reveals that people who care for or who have a close relationship with those who suffer from depression, other mental health issues and/or substance abuse are themselves often fragile and prone to depression arising from exhaustion, isolation, anxiety, conflict or fear.

Life events such as a death in the family, serious illness, loss of employment, separation, divorce or moving house, are stressful events but can have devastating effects if a person is already trying to cope with multiple issues.

A research paper supported by the Cancer Council ACT (September 2009) identified that the role has been found to have an impact on a carer’s finances, physical health and mental health.

The paper further revealed that caregiving can also been stressful, with multiple studies showing that caregiving is a mentally and physically tiring role with carers suffering from higher rates of neglected health problems, major depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stress than their non-caregiving counterparts (American Cancer Society 2006; Evandrou, 1996; Hodges et al., 2005; Kramer, 1997; Nothouse et al., 2000; Toseland et al., 1990; Weitzner et al., 2000).

Blackwood River Clinic adopts an inclusive approach with families, friends and other significant people who support the patient.  A healthy and encouraging support network is vital to the recovery of the patient.

One of our key aims is to enrich the mental health of the people and communities we serve and to manage illness with skill and compassion in a natural, healing and serene environment. As well as support for the patient specific sessions have been developed to support families, friends and significant other people involved in the recovery process.

We aim to empower families,friends and carers of participants to use available services, adapt better to change and develop resilience in the face of difficult circumstances. There is a focus on self care, stress management, reaching out and relationships. We foster the development of a better understanding of issues related to mental health and/or alcohol or drugs.

Our Support program is designed to raise awareness, develop coping strategies and resilience to prevent mental health issues and to enhance the quality of life of the participants.

We seek to develop knowledge, skills and understanding about mental health disorders and alcohol and drug abuse. It seeks to empower participants to use available services more effectively and access appropriate professionals.

Confidentiality is often perceived as a barrier, however, patients are encouraged to provide consent so that staff members can discuss important aspects of treatment, care and discharge with those persons nominated by the patient.

  • Cover common topics such as stress management, looking after self, meditation and mindfulness, strategies for dealing with difficult situations, conflict resolutions, listening skills, communication, setting boundaries and recognition and development of personal strengths across all the modules.
  • Enable participants to gain a better understanding of the effect of drugs and alcohol and a better understanding of mental health issues
  • Enable participants to learn how to navigate the complexities of the mental health system
  • Enable participants to care better for themselves and manage stress and anxiety
  • Suitable for families (parents, grandparents, siblings and extended family), friends, colleagues, carers and clients who play a role in supporting someone who has a mental illness or drug or alcohol problem and who themselves require specialist support, knowledge, skills and strategies
  • Suitable for anyone who wants to obtain a deeper understanding of mental illness and drugs and alcohol

How can I help?

Blackwood River Clinic asks you to provide the following support to your family member or friend.

  • Accompany the patient to the Assessment and Screening Interview when they see the psychiatrist before admission to the clinic
  • Participate in discharge planning by contacting the Unit Manager  +61 (8) 9200 2753 or  before the patient is discharged.
  • Ring the Unit Manager if you are concerned about the patient’s well being.
  • Be prepared to transport the patient from Blackwood River Clinic to their home or to a hospital in Perth if requested by the Unit Manager.
  • Ring the Unit Manager if you need to contact the patient during Clinic hours, as direct calls to patients are not permitted.
  • Respect that alcohol and illegal drugs are not permitted on the site.
  • respect the therapeutic community by accepting that alcohol and substances are not to be used offsite during the committed therapy period (2 week or 4 week program period)
  • Respect that visitors can only attend Blackwood River Clinic by appointment or to attend the sessions designed for families, friends and carers. There are no visiting hours at the clinic during group times or schedules.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of any patients or visitors you may encounter at the Clinic.