Support and Resources for Carers | Eating Disorders Victoria
Home ~ For family and friends ~ Resources for carers

Resources for carers

Home ~ For family and friends ~ Resources for carers

This page contains resources for carers and support people of a loved one with an eating disorder.

Becoming a skilled carer

Carers and support people are integral members of a person’s treatment team. Eating disorders are complex, and therefore require certain knowledge and skills when supporting a loved one.

Having access to information, resources and compassionate support services can help carers with the development of their caring skills.  Carers also benefit from emotional as well as financial support. On this page we share our ‘top picks’ for downloadable resources, as well as information about other organisations that support carer needs.

Eating Disorders Victoria acknowledges that carers can be anyone – parents, partners, siblings, children, in-laws, close friends etc.

Key resources for carers

For carers engaged in family-based treatment

For carers supporting adults with eating disorders

Other resources for carers

Suggested reading for carers

Need to have a chat?

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, our team at the EDV Hub are here to help.

Call, chat or email the EDV Hub

EDV support for Carers

Supporting Victorian families since 1983

EDV offers a broad range of free and low-cost support services for carers and family members supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. These include Carer Support Groups, telephone support, patient care coordination and educational events.

Learn more about how EDV can help

Other organisations supporting carers

Eating Disorders Families Australia (EDFA)

EDFA was established by a group of parents who all have lived experience of caring for a child with an eating disorder. EDFA understand and advocate for the vital role that parents and families have in the treatment of eating disorders. They offer peer support through their STRIVE support groups, as well as through closed Facebook groups.

EDFA STRIVE Carer Support Groups

Meetings are held online via ZOOM 7:30 – 9pm

STRIVE Support Group Flemington – second Wednesday of each month

STRIVE Support Group Bendigo – fourth Wednesday of each month

STRIVE groups:

  • Provide a safe, supportive place for carers to meet each month in a semi-structured environment which allows for both knowledge sharing and peer support
  • Provide information and resources to assist parents and carers to understand eating disorders and their integral role in recovery
  • Encourage empowerment of carers in their role in the recovery of the person with the eating disorder.
  • Are run by trained volunteer carers, for carers.

Attendees will be asked to join EDFA for a $25 annual family membership.

For more information, join the EDFA Facebook page, contact christine.naismith@edfa.org.au or visit the Eating Disorders Families Australia website.

 

F.E.A.S.T (Families Empowered And Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders)

F.E.A.S.T is an online resource for parents caring for children affected by eating disorders. F.E.A.S.T.’s Mission is to support caregivers by providing information and mutual support, promoting evidence-based treatment, and advocating for research and education to reduce the suffering associated with eating disorders. F.E.A.S.T also run the Around the Dinner Table Forum, an online community for parents of children with eating disorders that has been running since 2004. Visit the F.E.A.S.T website here

Self-care for carers

Self-care is the ability to take care of one’s basic needs. Practicing self-care as a carer is a vitally important step to take when we begin to feel swamped in the emotions that are a normal part of the recovery process.

This includes emotional needs such as managing anxiety, anger and sadness. It involves attending to your own needs even when other people’s actions or demands make this difficult to do. Caring for someone with an eating disorder can interfere with our ability to take care of ourselves.

What can I do to take care of myself?

It is important to take time out from thinking about your loved one’s illness and struggles and not to feel guilty for doing so. Some helpful self-care strategies can be found below:

  • Prioritise and schedule time-outs/small breaks to give yourself time for relaxation and to help you stay calm.
  • Engage in activities that you enjoy and that may distract you from the eating disorder, for example seeing a friend, reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, singing, going for a walk/run, gardening, or exercising.
  • Pamper yourself.
  • Ensure that you are eating nutritious meals.
  • Cuddle with a pet or take your dog for a walk.
  • Try to get out of the house and away from the eating disorder.
  • Sit and enjoy the sunshine with a herbal tea or a good book.
  • Practice breathing exercises or relaxation techniques. This may help if you are having trouble sleeping.
  • Take a nap or rest to recharge.
  • See a therapist for your own mental health and to develop strategies on how to support your loved one.
  • Talk to someone you trust about what you are going through. Seek the support of friends and family when you need to vent your feelings.
  • Ask other family members to step in and spend time with your loved one, outside of meal times. This will provide you with some guilt-free time out and your loved one with a fresh face.

For more tips, download our fact sheet

General carer supports in Victoria

Tandem

Tandem is the peak body that represents family and friends supporting people living with mental illness. Tandem administer the Mental Health Carer Support Fund (CSF), which is funded by the Victorian Government. The Carer Support Fund is available to family members and friends who are supporting a person receiving services from an Area Mental Health Service (ie. a public mental health service).

Learn more about the Mental Health Carer Support Fund by visiting the Tandem website
Find your local Area Mental Health Service here 

What can the CSF be used for?

  • Transport and/or costs associated with visiting the person with a mental illness in hospital or accompanying them to medical appointments as appropriate in your supporting role.
  • Carer education programs and conferences that promote knowledge and understanding of mental illness and the mental health system; and to support carer resilience, self-care and wellbeing.
  • Respite. Opportunities for the carer to have a break from the caring role.
  • Educational expenses. Opportunities for the carer to pursue vocational opportunities through short-term educational activities.
  • Counselling. Short term counselling, provided by a practitioner outside the mental health service, to address the emotional and relationship impacts of caring for someone with a mental illness.
  • Reimbursement of costs (that cannot be claimed through other Department of Health concessions or other funding sources for carers) incurred by the carer on behalf of the person for whom they care.
  • Wellbeing activities for carers, individually or in groups, to access opportunities such as yoga, meditation, sporting activities, art, music or other recreational activities to support their personal wellbeing.
  • The Fund may be used to support activity for a group of carers such as attendance at a conference or sporting event.
  • Sitting fees for individual carers or members of the Carer and Family Advisory Group who participate in systemic carer participation activities on behalf of the mental health services.

Source: https://www.tandemcarers.org.au/carer-support-fund.php

Victorian Support for Carers Program

The Victorian Support for Carers Program is funded by the Victorian Government for unpaid carers. An unpaid carer is a person providing care to another person with care needs. A carer may look after a partner, family member, friend or someone else who needs support. Carers can be of any age, from any culture or country, and any socio-economic background. Carers may be employed or not employed. A carer might not live with the person for whom they care.

The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides person centred respite and other support to carers:

  • One-off or short term support for carers including goods and equipment, that can add to other services or fill service gaps
  • Support to people in a care relationship, and at the same time and place if people want to be together while having the support service
  • Supporting people’s wellbeing – quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, social activity and or social connections. For example, carers can get respite with social, health and other support.

The Victorian Support for Carers Program supplements or fills gaps or meets needs that are one-off or not met by other programs. This means that people in a care relationship may be eligible for the SCP whether or not they are accessing or are eligible for other services and programs. Other services and programs include for example the Commonwealth Government’s Integrated Carer Support Service, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Commonwealth Home Support Programme, a mental health support program, a home care package, palliative care or an aged care facility.

Find out more
Read the Victorian Support for Carers Program Guidelines 2019

Find your local provider
Find your local service – Victorian Support for Carers Program

Carers Victoria

Carers Victoria is the statewide voice for family carers, representing and providing support to carers in Victoria. Carers Victoria run a range of carer groups, events, activities and workshops. Find out what’s going on near you:

Carers Victoria also offer a Carer Advisory Line and professional counselling services.

SANE Forums

SANE Carer forums provide safe, anonymous mental health discussion, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals. On the forums you can:

  • Connect with a respectful, accepting community
  • Read stories from people like you
  • Post your questions, responses and story
  • Find trusted information from SANE Australia

Visit the SANE Carer forum

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