Online peer support for Gippsland carers

Cher Jimenez

Carers in Gippsland will now be able to access an online peer support group to connect with other carers in the region and exchange experiences in the comfort of their own homes.

A project by not-for-profit mental wellbeing and recovery organisation Grow, the program is launching in Gippsland in October as a way of reaching out to carers who are experiencing isolation and provide an opportunity for them to share experiences and ideas relating to their caring roles.

Gippsland carer support officer Joanna Aquila said eGrow was an online video conferencing support service where carers could come together and talk of their experiences in an environment that is friendly, non-judgemental and assures privacy.

Ms Aquila said Grow recognised carers’ important role in the community and that they too could be affected by the demands of looking after a loved one.

She said carers could experience “compassion fatigue”, placing their own wellbeing at risk.

“We want carers to understand their value and contribution to the wellbeing of their loved ones and others,” she said.

As carer support officer and a fully-qualified counsellor, Ms Aquila will moderate the weekly two-hour meetings in Gippsland starting on October 15 at 7pm.

She said the goal was for carers to increase their resilience so that they can remain well and connect with others in similar roles and that, in time, they would have a supporting community of carers around them.

Ms Aquila can also link carers to available resources and support and offer strategies to help in their caring role.

She said Grow could also support carers who do not have access to the internet or a device to do videoconferencing.

Carers interested to join the group’s first meeting in October can do so by contacting the Gippsland carer support officer at 0435 743 894, Monday to Friday during office hours, the Grow office at 1800 558 268 or by registering their interest at