Helping Minds

History of HelpingMinds®

HelpingMinds® began as The Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill on July 20, 1976 as a public meeting for carers of people with a mental illness.

Betty Rebakis attended that first meeting and recalls:

“About 70 interested people attended, if I remember, all bringing our fears, grief and guilt with us but hoping for some relief at last. Dr Hearn stood up, some of us had not met him before; he stood tall and straight and spoke clearly and directly with a statement I will never forget.

“I want you all to know that there is nothing you have done, or haven’t done or should have done, that would have made any difference to your sick relative. It was all inevitable, so I want you all to get rid of any guilt feelings before we start.”

I as a mother heaved a sigh of relief, it was the kindest and most positive thing I’d heard for several years. My guilt was removed from that moment; it was the beginning of my learning experience in coping and coming to terms with mental illness.”

Between then and now we have grown considerably and in 2015 we changed our name to HelpingMinds.

Over the years we have grown and now have teams offering support across metro and regional WA and Darwin in the Northern Territory.

We want to encourage all those affected by mental illness to talk with someone today. There’s no better time. Let’s talk.

Learn More

List of Services

HelpingMinds® provides a variety of mental health carer support services, including:

  • Services for adults and families
  • Services for young people
  • Services for schools and the community
  • NDIS services


Counselling for Carers

When someone close to you changes because of mental ill-health you may feel a mix of emotions, including anger, loss and sadness.

We offer free and confidential counselling to people in WA who are supporting a family member or a friend living with mental health challenges, including:

  • Individual counselling appointments for adults and young people aged 7-17
  • In-school counselling for students aged 7-17
  • Phone counselling for people in regional and remote WA on 1800 811 747

We also offer counselling for children aged 7-17 years who have emotional or social difficulties or are at risk of developing a mental health challenge, living in City of Swan, Geraldton, Carnarvon and Broome.

Workshops, Events and Support Groups

Our regular workshops, events and support groups provide a safe environment for carers to come together and offer each other support, share experiences, coping skills, information and build a sense of empowerment and take away some of those feelings of distress, exhaustion and isolation.

Our workshops, events and support groups are held all over WA for both the family and friends of people living with mental ill-health and for young people at risk of developing a mental health issue.

Advocacy for your rights

The mental health system in WA is complex and we can help you navigate it, protect your rights and express your own wishes. This is known as advocacy.

Our advocacy team can assist you with understanding your rights, complaints, referrals, information and resources and having your voice heard when decisions are being made about the person you care for.

Support from peers

When someone close to you is unwell, talking with someone who has experienced a similar situation can be comforting. Our Peer Support Workers can help guide you through difficult times because they have been there before and know what it is like.

NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme)

If the family member or friend you support is living with mental ill-health, that is severe and longstanding and has a significant impact on their daily life, they may be eligible for assistance through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

If you live in Perth Metro, Geraldton, Broome, Hedland or Darwin, we may be able to assist your loved one with specialised psychosocial (mental health) support through their NDIS plan.

Supporting children and young people at risk

The majority of mental health challenges will emerge before the age of 25. The earlier that young people at risk receive support, the more likely they are to cope with challenging situations and emotions.

Our early intervention services include counselling (ages 7-17), practical support and workshops and are available for young people under the age of 18 in the City of Swan, Midwest, Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley, who have emotional difficulties or are at risk of developing a mental health challenge.

Education and Training in Schools and the Community

HelpingMinds® offers free and informative mental health programs to help educate students, teachers, parents and the community.

Our fun and interactive workshops aim to raise awareness about mental health and reduce stigma about mental ill-health.

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