Are you living with a serious illness?
Do you care for someone who has a serious illness?
The Living Well with Serious Illness program provides therapeutic counselling for people living with a serious illness and people who care for them, including family and friends. The service is free and aims to help patients and their families and friends cope.
Living with a serious illness can be an emotional roller-coaster. Some people have periods when they feel hopeful and times when they feel fear. Adjusting to the illness impacts not only on you, but also your close family and friends. It touches every aspect of your life and can make you vulnerable to emotional distress, anxiety and depression.
The Living Well with Serious Illness program can provide support around issues which can affect your emotional and mental wellbeing.
When do I need help?
Distress occurs when you feel you are unable to cope. Feeling helpless can threaten your sense of wellbeing. As distress increases, you may feel that you are losing touch with who you are and your usual ways of living life. A mental health clinician experienced in working with people living with serious illness can help with these feelings of disconnection. They can also assist with the following:
- Developing new ways to assist in managing pain;
- Coping with uncertainty about the future;
- Managing changes in your relationships;
- Managing fear;
- Understanding what your illness means to you.
How do I get help?
If you are living with a serious illness or are a family or friend caring for someone with a serious illness, you are able to be referred to the program.
You need to visit your GP who will complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan. This provides access to 6 appointments with a mental health clinician. If required, another 6 appointments can be provided after a review by your GP.
There is no cost for this service.
Therapeutic counselling is more than ‘having someone to talk to’. The appointment gives you the opportunity to speak about how your illness affects you and your family. You can then begin to develop skills to help you make decisions and improve your quality of life.
Many people speak about the value of having someone outside of their circle of family and friends to talk to. Speaking with a mental health clinician provides a confidential time to be open and honestabout how you are feeling. Appointments usually last for an hour and you are welcome to bring someone with you.