Emotional support for parents

Woman with arm around man to give emotional support

At a glance

  • When big problems arise parents don't have to feel they need to cope alone.
  • Your doctor is a good person to approach initially for some advice or assistance.
  • Helplines are great resources for people who feel there is no one else to talk to when they need it.
  • Support via phone or internet is available on issues related to men, women, children and debt.
  • Specific services are available for people living in remote locations.

As parents, looking after ourselves is something that seems to get put way down the list of priorities. Everything and everyone are somehow organised, nurtured and sorted out irrespective of how we may be feeling. If life appears to be getting out of control or you're not coping so well, don't think you have to manage it alone. The old adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved' has truth in it, and there are plenty of professional services which can help you in a time of need.

School counsellors

When there is an issue in some way related to school that is affecting the whole family, school counsellors are a great place to go for help. School counsellors are experienced teachers who have formal qualifications in counselling. They are available for all students from preschool to Year 12, and their families. As with any professional service, they will keep information confidential, unless child protection legislation overrides it or where someone may suffer serious harm from information being withheld.

Face-to-face support

Your doctor is a good person to approach initially for some advice or assistance if life is getting out of hand. If you need further support, your doctor can provide you with a referral to a psychologist or another other type of counsellor. However, if you want to find a psychologist yourself, the Australasian Psychology Society provides an online find a psychologist service which can help you to locate a professionally trained psychologist in your local area. Alternatively you can call 1800 333 497 to confidentially discuss your needs.

Another option is your local community health centre, where services are free to members of the local community. These services are part of the NSW Health Services network, which includes hospitals. Psychologists and social workers at these centres can provide support or refer people to more specific services they need.

Phone support

Helplines are great resources for people who feel there is no one else to talk to when they need it, or want to remain anonymous. Helplines are often available 24 hours a day and can be used when other services are closed. Helplines are usually staffed by social workers or psychologists with additional specialist training, or trained volunteers.

Lifeline 13 11 14
24 hours a day.

Parent Line 1300 1300 52
24-hour telephone counselling, information and referral service for parents.

Information and referral to services for depression and anxiety related matters.

MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
24-hour confidential helpline support for men and their families. There is also specialised support for Indigenous, Arabic and Vietnamese families, along with young men.

Centrelink's Financial Information Service 13 63 57
A free financial counselling service available to anyone.

Credit and Debit Hotline 1800 808 488
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm. This is run by the Consumer Credit Legal Centre NSW to assist you with managing credit and debt.

Family Relationship Advice Line 1800 050 321
Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturdays 10am to 4pm. This is service is provided by the Australian Government to assist families with relationship or separation issues.


Technology has made it easier for people to research information, investigate sources of help and even to receive online counselling.

Relationships Australia (NSW), which is known for providing relationship counselling, family dispute resolution, mediation and relationship courses, can provide counselling online for couples in rural and remote areas as well as face-to-face counselling.

CounsellingOnline is a service where you can communicate with a professional counsellor via email about an alcohol- or drug-related concern, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free and helpful for anyone seeking support with drug use or the drug use of a family member or friend.

MensLine Australia offers discussion forums on relevant topics so that men can come together anonymously in an online peer support group. There is also an innovative tool to assess the health of your intimate relationship as well as a database to find appropriate services in your local area.

Help for young people

There are many online services that offer support to young people. Read more about them in Online Lifeline and share this information with your family and friends so that everyone can get the help they need when they need it.


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