Online education and support resources important for families and friends

A new report about the experience of loved ones living with a young person affected by mental health issues will ensure headspace continues providing appropriate support to family and friends.

Conducted jointly by The Bouverie Centre and the University of Melbourne’s Psychosocial Research Centre, the headspace-funded research set out to identify how online resources could help support family and friends as they navigate services to help with their young person’s mental health issues.

Participants told researchers that living with a young person struggling with their mental health was difficult and finding the most appropriate support could be a long process.

Many of those who took part reported feelings of loneliness and isolation when their young people refused treatment, or when other family members lacked understanding about mental health or ignored young people’s mental health issues.

They also wanted to know what to do if their young person experienced a mental health crisis.

Participants also reported:

  • they were enthusiastic about having access to online education and support resources
  • those resources should be flexible, available day and night and have built-in supports from clinicians and peers
  • they wanted activities that helped them manage their own mental health and wellbeing and empowered them to better support their young person’s mental health.

These findings will help to inform the continued development of family focused interventions across eheadspace and online support for families accessing the headspace website.

eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people aged 12 to 25, and their families and friends.