Keeping families healthy

Your family

Every family goes through stressful times. Knowing how to recognise the early warning signs is important. Having effective coping strategies to draw on as individuals, and as a family, like doing fun things together, taking time out for relaxation and finding regular time to talk with each other will assist you and your family work through difficulties no matter how big or small.

Make time for family

Life can be very hectic and it’s all too easy to take those closest to us for granted. It’s important to prioritise your family even when it’s hard to find the time.

Keep communication lines open

Whether it’s tackling big issues or just dealing with the day to day stuff, keep talking. Sharing thoughts, feelings and problems with those close to you helps to keep relationships strong and shows your support for each other.

Plan healthy and rewarding activities together

Sharing important and meaningful activities can help families stick together. Those activities can easily fall by the wayside when families are under the pump. If your family is going through a stressful period, plan some rewarding activities together – they don’t have to be fun, just important for your family.

Take action: Plan rewarding activities to do with your family

Doing rewarding activities is a great way to strengthen your relationships and get back in touch with what is important for you as a family.

Use the Enjoyable and Rewarding Activities tool to identify activities and plan how to engage in them. Choose those activities that are the most appealing or important to your family.

Use this tool when you are planning to spend time with your family or if you get stuck for ideas for activities.

Stay connected to friends

It might seem odd but a great way of improving your relationships within your family is to make sure that your outside relationships are healthy as well. In the same way that friends are an important source of support for individuals, communities are important supports for families. Get your family involved in school, sporting or other community groups.

Take action: Help your family by building connections in your community

Just like individuals, families are healthier if they have good social support.

Use the Social Connections tool to identify the people and groups in your community who can support your family.

When you’re starting out you may want to focus on getting involved with just one or two community groups. Over time, you can work on building a wider support network by reaching out to more people and groups.

This tool is also available on the High Res app.

Work out what’s important

If you're stressed and overwhelmed, re-evaluating what’s really important to you in the short term might allow you to take some pressure off your family. Talking through what’s important and what can wait gives you breathing room and a sense that you’re working together.

My family is struggling

There may be some good reasons why your family is having problems. Maybe you’re dealing with a major life change, the kids are being a handful, your relationship is going through a rough patch or maybe a family member has developed a mental health problem. Mental health problems don’t just affect the individual; they can also impact on the lives of partners, parents, siblings and children. If you're a family member of a serving member or veteran, you might want to find out more about how service, deployment and readjusting to civilian life can affect your mental health. This website provides information about mental health and wellbeing as well as information about mental health disorders and their treatment. It will help you understand the effects that mental health problems have and, importantly, what you can do to manage and recover.

Recognising the signs - what my family member is dealing with

There are sections of this website where you can find a whole lot of information about different mental health concerns. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a guide to the other sections of the website.


Feeling down

  • Feeling flat
  • Lacking energy
  • Nothing feels fun

Feeling anxious

  • Worrying all the time
  • Panic attacks
  • Hiding from the world

Troubled by memories

  • Having nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Blocking out reminders of trauma

Grief

  • Grieving
  • Mourning
  • Feeling sad and lonely

Angry

  • Feeling frustrated
  • Wound up
  • Agro

Alcohol

  • Difficulties with alcohol
  • Bingeing

Drug use

  • Difficulties with drugs
  • Doctor shopping

Taking risks

  • Taking risks
  • Acting without thinking
  • Risky sex

Gambling

  • Losing too much money
  • Gambling out of control

Self-harm

  • Feeling desperate
  • Hopeless
  • Thinking about taking their life

Violence

  • Getting into fights
  • Hurting the ones they love

Poor sleep

  • Restless nights
  • Nightmares


You might be struggling with some of the same big issues that affect military families. This section of the website presents information on some of the issues that family members of serving defence members, ex-serving members and veterans can face, such as, when a 'different person' comes home.