18 August 2022

A new Mind Australia service will provide targeted support to young people who care for someone with mental ill-health or drug and alcohol addiction.  

Family, Friends and Carers Support (FFCS) is a youth-focused program that is part of the Victorian Support for Carers Program. 

Family, Friends and Carers Support offers young people aged 15-26 flexible services including after school support, individual support, peer support, groups and events, day trips and overnight retreats around Victoria. 

These supports will be developed with young people to ensure that it is relevant to their needs. The program will be delivered in partnership with Carers Victoria and Carers Gateway.  

Anne Dooley, Mind Australia Family, Carer and Respite Services Manager, said the new service would provide valuable support for young people performing carer duties for loved ones.   

“Approximately one in 20 young people in Australia identify as being a young carer,” Ms Dooley said.  

“There are more young people who don’t recognise that they are performing caring duties or they prefer not to identify as carers.  

“Caring for someone living with mental ill-health or drug and alcohol addiction can be stressful, especially for young people, which is why it’s important that they have access to targeted, timely support mechanisms.”  

Kathleen McHugh Landrigan, Mind Family, Carer and Respite Service Community Mental Health Practitioner, said young carers were often overlooked.   

“Young carers are incredibly marginalised as they have responsibilities that many people in their age group do not usually have,” Ms McHugh Landrigan said.  

“It can be a difficult and isolating experience.   

“Working with carers has opened my eyes to people’s ability to be adaptable, resilient, and create meaningful connections.”  

The Family, Friends and Carers Support service will be modelled on Mind’s existing carer respite and support programs.   

Mind CEO Gill Callister said Mind has a proud history of providing much-needed support for families, friends and carers of people with mental ill-health across Australia.  

“Family-centred and inclusive practice, where families and carers are seen as partners in care, is central to modern mental health policy, practice and service delivery,” Ms Callister said.  

“We have been working with families, friends and carers, for more than 45 years and our experience tells us that people who care for someone with mental ill-health often experience reduced opportunities in life, and all too often must learn as they go when it comes to taking care of their loved one.  

“Mind welcomes this opportunity to provide targeted support to young people.” 

Young carers interested in this program can call Mind’s Carer Helpline on 1300 544 660 for more details. Find more information for Family, Friends and Carers Support here.  

If this article raises immediate concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.