Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting carers of people with mental illness

The Gillard Government is investing more than $3.1 million over the next three years to trial new ways of helping carers of people with mental illness to achieve their training and employment goals.

The Mental Health Respite: Carer Support initiative focuses on training and employment outcomes for carers and will be trialled across four areas – Dandenong and Hume in Victoria, Botany Bay in New South Wales and the Fraser Coast in Queensland, with around 45 carers to be assisted in each site per year.

This investment recognises that carers of people with mental illness face particular barriers to gaining and keeping paid employment due to the unpredictability and episodic nature of mental illness and have difficulty remaining skilled and work-ready while in their caring roles.

The services will develop and trial models that focus on supporting carers to address the non-vocational issues that are barriers to finding and maintaining employment, training or education, such as building self-confidence and transport issues.

Services will also enable carers to take short breaks from their caring roles, participate in community and social activities, engage in peer support groups, or receive counselling and advice, all contributing to their own health and wellbeing.

Carers will have a designated worker who is able to provide individual flexible support, helping them develop their own support plans with an emphasis on employment goals and how they will meet them.

The nature of mental illness is often misunderstood and this funding will help people to be more involved in the life of their communities and address unmet demand for help for carers and families of people with mental illness.

The funding is part of the Gillard Government’s $2.2 billion mental health reform package.

Organisation Name


On Track Community Programs Ltd

Fraser Coast, Queensland

Illawarra Disability Trust

Botany Bay, NSW

Ermha Inc

Dandenong, Victoria

JobCo Employment Services Inc

Hume, Victoria