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Nicholas Colicchia The Engagement Officer at Merri Health

My name is Nicholas Colicchia and I am the NDIS & Mental Health engagement officer at Merri Health. I am part of the community engagement and program development team which is part of Merri Carer Services. Nic is here to chat about the Carer Gateway and provide information about support that is available to unpaid carers. Merri Carer Services works in partnership with carers and offers a range of supports, services and activities to strengthen your wellbeing and the wellbeing of the person you are caring for. Carers living in Moreland, Darebin, Banyule, Yarra, Nillumbik, Hume or Whittlesea can use Merri Carer Services.

What services, supports and activities does Merri Carer Services provide? • Assessment and Planning: Our Assessment and Planning Officers provide short-term support for carers to navigate, coordinate and access the right services. We work with you to develop supports which are tailored to your needs. • One-on-one carer coaching: Meet with a trained carer coach to explore areas of your life you would like to review or change. • Health and wellbeing coaching: Our health coaches work with carers so you are as healthy and well as possible. We can work with you on nutrition, physical activity, stress/mood, fatigue, sleep and management of chronic disease. • Carer counselling: Carer counselling provides a safe and supportive space for carers to share their thoughts and feelings when they need support the most. You can choose to meet with a counsellor in person, or speak with them over the phone. • Peer support: In-person peer support groups provide an opportunity to meet other carers in similar roles and circumstances. With the support of a facilitator, peer- support groups explore common issues and concerns for carers and share ideas for managing challenges. • Dementia advice: Our dementia carer consultants provide support, advice and education to build carer skills and confidence. We can assist with information about dementia, strategies to help with behaviour changes, planning for the future and links to other dementia services. Group sessions are also available. • Respite and emergency respite: Respite is a short period of rest or break. It allows carers to take a break to focus on their own wellbeing. Respite can be for a few hours, days or for longer periods, depending on the carer’s needs and eligibility. Respite may be planned or an urgent need. • Young carer support: We assist school-aged carers who may be caring for a parent, sibling, other relative or a friend. We support young carers to manage their caring responsibilities and assist with daily tasks, helping them to stay in school and connected with other young carers and the community. We provide educational and emotional support. Our team also offer a variety of programs, events and activities • Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families: We are respectful of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s history and beliefs. We provide culturally appropriate and inclusive support and work in partnership with carers and community to get the supports they need. • NDIS Community Connectors: NDIS Community Connectors assist ageing carers who provide informal support to a person/s with a disability to access and engage with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). • Activities, events, workshops and carer engagement: Connect with other carers, socialise and share your experience and learn practical information to support you in your caring role.

Cost Most carer services are free. Do I need a referral? No, you do not need a referral. Call our team to register. Register Call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time or request a call back here. Where can I find out more? More information about carer support is available by visiting the Carer Gateway website.

Carer Gateway provides in-person, phone and online services and support to Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers. We don’t have that many registered – that’s how many there are in Australia. Carer Gateway has many services that can help you with any daily challenges, emotional and financial stresses that you may experience in your role as a carer. A carer is someone who looks after a family member, friend or loved one with disability, a medical condition, mental illness, or someone who is frail due to age. Are you one of Australia’s 2.65 million carers? Getting help early can make a big difference to your life by helping to reduce emotional and physical strain and improving your overall health and wellbeing.

The Australian Government has launched a range of new supports and services through Carer Gateway. Carers can now access new dedicated services including counselling, online coaching and skills courses. Carer Gateway can also help to navigate the various services and supports for carers available through government and non-government providers. These services were specifically designed and tested by carers with the aim of reducing stress and helping you to build resilience in your caring role. Services are free to access for anyone looking after a family member, partner or friend with disability, a medical condition, mental illness or someone who is frail due to age. These changes do not affect any other state or territory carer services, young carer bursaries or other services delivered through My Aged Care or the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

For more information or advice on the supports and services available, visit or call 1800 422 737 Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm local time.


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