One in five people in New Zealand will experience a mental illness at some stage of their lives. This will also affect the people who love and care for them. Help available for family and whānau includes:
- strategies for communication within the family,
- problem-solving techniques,
- coping strategies
- advice on self-care
- advice on how to look after other family members
Involving family and partners in the care of people with mental illness can significantly improve their opportunities for recovery. I can require that they have access to sensitive information - which some patients are wary of. DHB staff must also respect the patient’s desire and rights to privacy.
However, family/whanau have legal and other rights to information and support, including:
- the right to give any information they consider important to health professionals
- the right to be listened to and to be taken seriously when expressing concerns about a person’s behaviour.
- the right to receive information about a person they are carers for, including the diagnosis, treatment and possible side effects of treatment.
If specifics about a patient's conditon or treatment cannot be shared, we can provide general information about mental illness, mental health services and medication.
Families & whanau also have the right to be consulted about discharge plans. (Discharge plans should be developed with families and carers. It is legally required for information about discharge from compulsory treatment to be given to primary caregivers).
The Family Advisor
The Family Advisor manages relationships between the Hutt Valley District Health Board Mental Health Services and families/whanau of patients. They represent a family/whanau perspective in strategic planning and delivery of services.
Contact email@example.com for details.
Resources for families and whanau
Schizophrenia, depression and neurosis - serious illness:
This website provides support to anyone who supports or cares for someone with a major mental illness, including information on support, advocacy, and education.
Mental Health Commission: Provides up-to-date information, research and direction of Mental Health Services in New Zealand.
- The Mental Health Commission produces a publication for people who care for someone with mental health or addiction problems. It is a guide for family, whānau and friends. It provides information on how provide direct help, how to seek outside help, and what the family, whānau can do to support their own wellbeing. Click here to download a copy of MHC A Guide for Families Dec 2011 web [PDF, 1.11 MB]. Copies can also be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org or call (04) 474 8900.
Like Minds, Like Mine: is a national, publicly funded programme aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
Atareira: Offers face to face and telephone contact with mobile fieldworkers, education courses
Phone: 04 499-1062
Carersnetnz: Help for New Zealand's family, whanau and aiga carers.