Self Care is Very Important for Family members, Carers and Paid Support Workers
It is very important for unpaid carers and paid support workers to get their own support to safeguard their physical health and mental well-being in the caring role.
Supporting a person with an intellectual disability who has been a victim of crime can be a distressing and draining experience. It can also be a trigger for people’s own history, bringing up unwanted memories and feelings.
Family, Carers or Paid Support Workers
Unpaid carers may need to seek support to debrief and make sense of what has happened to a loved one or a friend. It is very important for you to access support that is freely available. See below.
Paid support workers should get support from your organisation. Debrief with your supervisor or colleagues (where appropriate) following distressing events, or seek counselling for yourself.
When supporting someone who has experienced a significant trauma, and you may begin to experience symptoms for an extended period of time such as invasive distressing thoughts about your family member/client, deteriorated sleep or eating habits, or emotional distress. Seeking support from a counsellor, mental health social worker or psychologist is very important for your own well being. You can do that through your GP at LINK or there are freely available telephone or online support at:
Paid or unpaid, we can only help others if we look after ourselves.
Support options for Unpaid Carers include:
Carer Gateway – Commonwealth Department of Social Services
The Carer Gateway provides practical information and advice and connects unpaid carers with local supports. Call them on 1800 422 737 or visit carergateway.gov.au to be referred directly to the service provider Wellways Australia.
Carer Gateway provides a range of free services and support just for carers. Services are delivered in-person, online and over the phone. The Carer Gateway service providers across Australia provide in-person services across Australia.
- In-person and phone counselling – if you are feeling stressed, anxious, sad or frustrated, a counsellor can talk with you either in person or over the phone in the comfort of your own home.
- In-person and online peer support groups – you might like to meet with people like you who care for someone and share stories, knowledge and experience. You can do this with people in your area or you can join the carer forum online.
- Tailored support packages – you may be able to get a range of practical supports like planned respite and transport services to help you in your caring role.
- In-person and online self-guided coaching – you can talk to a professional coach to reflect on your experience and needs, identify personal goals and create a plan to reach these goals, or you can work through interactive online coaching sessions at your own pace. There are a range of topics to help you in your caring role.
- Online skills courses to support your wellbeing and understanding of legal responsibilities relating to the caring role.
- Access to emergency respite if you suddenly find you can’t provide care, for example if you become ill or injured. Service providers will find ways to look after the person you care for while you recover.
Wellways Australia is the chosen service provider of Carer Gateway services throughout Queensland and the New South Wales regions of South West Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains. Wellways also offers a wide range of individually tailored services designed to support people affected by mental health issues or disability, as well as their families, friends and carers. Their local staff will help you take charge of your wellbeing, connect with others and participate in your community. For more information ph: Call 1300 111 400 or click on https://www.wellways.org/carers
The Victims Counselling and Support Service is a counselling and support service provided to Queensland residents who have been personally affected by crime, either directly or indirectly, including family members and friends of , and victims of crime and witnesses of crime.
Services offered include:
- Face to face counselling and support at various Queensland locations as listed below
- Telephone counselling and support throughout Queensland
- Referrals to appropriate services
The Victims Counselling and Support Service (VCSS) can be contacted throughout Queensland on 1300 139 703. This contact number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for information, referral and booking of counselling appointments.
Freely Available Resources online:
Queensland State Government’s Online Resource – Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Information
This website will help you or your family members learn about sexual violence, assault and abuse and the steps you can take if you think it’s happening to you or other people you know. Click on this LINK to go to website.
Queensland State Government’s Online Resource – Domestic and family violence information and support for women with disability
This website will help you or your family members learn about domestic and family violence and the steps you can take if you think it’s happening to you or other people you know. There are some easy read resources here for people experiencing any kind of abuse. Click on this LINK to go to website.
WWILD has a list of Easy Read resources for people with intellectual and learning disabilities to help them know their rights, and information on various topics. As a supporter it may be your role to provide information and reassurance to the person needing support. Please see our Easy Read Resources page to access and download the below resources and there as well as other resources.
- ‘ A Simple English booklet about Sexual Assault’ resource
- ‘ A Simple English Booklet about Domestic Violence’ resource
- WWILD’s ‘What to do if someone hurts you’ page.
Women with Disabilities Victoria have created a series of videos and printed resources to improve our understanding of women with disabilities and their experiences of violence and abuse. These resources have been developed for people with disabilities and also the support workers and other health professionals that support them. Please go to this LINK to access these resources.
Enable Scotland have created an excellent resource for families, carers and support workers on supporting adults with intellectual disabilities who have experienced sexual abuse. Please be aware however that it is placed in the Scottish context, so the information about the law is not relevant to the Australian context.
Download Enable Scotland’s Unlocking sexual abuse and learning disabilities. Supporting adults with learning disabilities who have been sexually abused: A guide for family carers and support staff here.
Mater Intellectual Disability and Autism Service (MIDAS formerly known as QCIDD)
CHAP Tool – The Comprehensive Health Assessment Program (CHAP) is designed to help minimise the barriers to healthcare for people with intellectual disability by prompting health care and screening. Developed at The University of Queensland by Professor Nick Lennox, the program is used in Australia by various state governments, other non-government organizations, and in other countries. CHAP is a tool designed to prompt a comprehensive health assessment for adults with intellectual disability. This may potentially help doctors make better diagnoses, provide appropriate treatment and ultimately ensure an overall better health. The CHAP tool is a two-part questionnaire requiring collaboration between the person with the intellectual disability, their supporter and their GP. The first part of the questionnaire creates a comprehensive health history and is completed by the parents, paid support staff and/or person with intellectual disability. The health history is then taken to the person’s GP. Working with the person and their supporter, the GP fills in the second part of the questionnaire. Here, the GP is prompted to be aware of commonly missed, poorly managed or syndrome specific health conditions and performs a review of the person’s health. On completion of the GP’s review, a health action plan should be agreed upon by the GP in collaboration with those involved in providing support or the person themselves. Available at: https://qcidd.centre.uq.edu.au/resources/chap
EAP Assist – Wellness Apps available online for Paid Support workers
EAP Assist facilitates on-demand technology to provide highly accessible & flexible support to all employees via access to the best evidence-based, clinically-tested wellness apps free for all member employees to access. The Apps address a comprehensive range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety & stress as well as many wellbeing issues, including resilience, confidence & sleep.
Get support online without ever needing to leave your home or workplace enhancing every aspect of your personal & professional life, providing employees with the skills to adapt to ever-changing environments. EAP Assist facilitated apps provide inspiration, cultivate resilience & strengthen skills to build strong mental health each & every day. Wellness Apps have been shown to achieve outcomes that traditional in-person therapy sessions are unable to achieve. https://eapassist.com.au/wellness-apps/
You may wish to help the person seek legal advice or to get an advocate to help them negotiate systems like police, NDIS, domestic and family violence or housing. Please visit our Other Services pages for listings of Legal Services, Disability Advocacy Services and more.
MacDonald, S 2008, ‘Which Way is Justice? A Practice Manual for Supporting People with an Intellectual Disability in the Criminal Justice System’, Community Living Association, Inc., Voices Project 2008,
Milner, P., Kelly, B. (2009). Community participation and inclusion: people with disabilities defining their place, Disability & Society. 17 pgs,http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/09687590802535410.
The State of Queensland. (2007). Acquired Brain Injury Outreach Service. How to Build Good Boundaries in Support Work. Queensland Health, Available at: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/abios/behaviour/professional/boundaries_pro.pdf.