The enormous contribution of carers is being celebrated as part of National Carers Week.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said more than 2.65 million carers give their time, effort and love to look after a partner, family member or friend who needs them.
“The commitment of carers across Australia to support senior and vulnerable Australians should not be underestimated,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Carers are integral to the quality of life and independence of many Australians and make an important economic contribution to the community.
“For all those people who put the needs of others before their own, we say thank you.”
Minister Colbeck said the Government is particularly conscious of the additional demands the COVID-19 pandemic is having on carers across the country.
“We know the need to limit visitors to their home has increased the level of worry and stress for carers, but help and support is available,” Minister Colbeck said.
In what also marks World Mental Health Week, the Government has released a number of mental health packages to help support people and their carers during the COVID-19 pandemic including:
- The Head to Health website supports people and their carers needing help coping with anxiety or worry about COVID-19
- Dedicated coronavirus digital resources and a 24/7 phone counselling service led by Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) staffed by accredited mental health professionals
- Additional funding to bolster critical phone and online support services, including Lifeline (13 11 14), to help ensure it can meet increased demand.
“The Australian Government has also invested $48.1 million to implement the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Through this plan, we provided $3 million to boost services through the Carer Gateway, as well as $500,000 to Carers Australia to encourage carers of people with a mental illness to connect with others in the same circumstances, and to access online resources for their own wellbeing and self-care.”
“Anyone at any time can become a carer so this year—and beyond—we acknowledge and commend the outstanding contribution made by carers in our community,” he said.
Support network, Carer Gateway, is among the services which offers counselling, connection with other carers, coaching, courses and emergency respite services.
Carers can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, to speak to trained worker in their local area to help find the services and support required.
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme also supports care relationships through planned respite services for older people, allowing carers to take a much needed break from their usual caring responsibilities.
Senior Australians, their families and carers also have access to a free dedicated mental health support line for those impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
The phone line offers practical help and guidance during this challenging time.
The number is 1800 171 866 and the service is open Monday to Friday between 8:30am to 6pm.
For more information, please visit the Carer Gateway.
National Carers Week continues until 17 October.