Recommendations relating to Relationships

Relationships are central to the human experience. Connection with others has the ability to optimise wellbeing and provide support during challenging times.

For people affected by complex mental health issues, the impact of that support can be strengthened by having families and friends who understand their unique experiences and provide the types of support that are beneficial for their loved one.


"Having my illness dismissed, ignored, unaccommodated and being avoided by potential friends is a constant reality for me.     

– Our Turn to Speak participant, Western Australia

Not all relationships are positive all of the time. While the reasons for this are complex and multi-dimensional, it tells us that more support is needed to equip people affected by complex mental health issues, as well as their families, friends and communities, and others in their support networks, to increase understanding and to help nurture and maintain their personal relationships.

"Without social connections life gets very difficult. I think we need campaigns for carers, friends and family, so they can get the information they need, in order to understand and support us better”. 

– Our Turn to Speak participant, New South Wales


Many carers, families and friends offer significant and sustained support to loved ones directly affected by complex mental health issues. The impact of their caring role can be hard to quantify and many carers report feeling unsupported by the services and systems in place to assist them and their loved one. Providing adequate carer support is integral to ensuring that people affected by complex mental health issues enjoy healthy and positive relationships with their loved ones.


Recommendations for action

  1. Expand access to evidence-based psychosocial programs, discussion groups and events that build meaningful connections, positive relationships and communication skills to reduce self-stigma and isolation. 
  2. Fund and implement evidence-based psychoeducation programs and respite options for carers, including young carers, to build their capacity to support their loved ones.
  3. Improve identification of those supporting people living with complex mental health issues and increase their access to family therapy, open dialogues and models of care that include an individual’s support network.