Mental Health Respite: Carer Support

Mental Health Respite: Carer Support (MHR:CS)

The Mental Health Respite: Carer Support (MHR:CS) provides a range of flexible respite and family support options for carers of people with severe mental illness and carers of people with an  intellectual disability.

The aim of this service is to support carers to sustain their caring roles and maintain connections with their communities, by increasing access to carer support.

All MHR:CS services provide carer support for carers of people with severe mental illness.  MHR:CS services recognise a number of groups of carers facing additional disadvantage in identified geographic areas.

MHR:CS services for carers of people with mental illness

New and expanded services have been funded to provide additional support for carers and families of people with mental illness.  These services focus on improving access to a broader range of carer support options that account for the episodic nature of mental illness and the need for carer support services that respond to changing circumstances.  They deliver a range of services that can include providing breaks for carers from their caring roles, social and recreational activities, counselling, education, advocacy and referral, and education for families and the community about mental illness and its impacts.

How do I locate a new or expanded MHR:CS service?

MHR:CS for carers of people with mental illness and people with intellectual disability

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres and community based organisations provide flexible respite and carer support services for carers of people with mental illness or an intellectual disability.

Services can be accessed directly from MHR:CS funded community-based organisations and/or Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres.  To access an MHR:CS service, contact either the Commonwealth Respite Carelink Centre on: 1800 052 222 or a MHR:CS service directly.

What support is available for young carers of people with mental illness?

There are a range of services that provide assistance to young carers of people with mental illness.

MHR:CS services provide flexible respite and support options for young carers of people with severe mental illness nationally.  The location and contact details are available at: http://www.sfnsw.org.au/On-Fire/Home/Home.

The On Fire Program assists young carers aged between 8 to 17 years who live in families affected by mental illness issues in New South Wales.  The location and contact details for On Fire Program are available on this website. 

Respite and information services are also available for young carers up to 25 years of age through the Young Carers Respite and Information Services Program.

What is an employment-focused MHR:CS service?

Employment-focused MHR:CS services are being trialled in four areas in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.  These services provide intensive support to carers of people with mental illness to address non‑vocational barriers to carers achieving workforce participation.

This MHR:CS service recognises that carers of people with mental illness face particular barriers to pursuing vocational options such as training, studying, up-skilling and paid employment due to the unpredictability and episodic nature of mental illness. Carers can have difficulty remaining skilled and work-ready while in their caring roles.

Services can be accessed directly, or through other funded Mental Health Respite: Carer Support services

What is the Mental Health Carer Counselling service?

Mental Health Carer Counselling is being delivered by Carers Australia.  The counselling service provides an opportunity to talk to someone about your caring role.  Experienced staff can help you find ways to:

  • cope with change
  • manage stress
  • balance work and caring
  • cope with loss and grief
  • deal with relationship change
  • access services, supports and information.

Call 1800 242 636 anywhere in Australia to speak to a counsellor.

More Information

For further information about the MHR:CS service see:

For further information about services and support for Carers on this website see:

Last updated: