Families & Carers

Co-existing mental health and drug and alcohol problems are associated with a range of social and health problems affecting not only the individual but the family and social network of the individual as well.

Families and carers of those with co-existing mental health and drug and alcohol problems often experience heightened levels of anxiety and depression and a higher care-giving burden, and commonly report feeling helpless and isolated. Loss of family support often destabilises the housing situation of an individual, which in turn may lead to greater vulnerability (Price 2002).

NADA promotes a family inclusive practice approach in the non government drug and alcohol sector that recognises that services and support are more effective when they include family members. It supports the view that individuals influence other members in their environment, especially family, and that family members in turn have an impact on these individuals (Kina Family and Addictions Trust 2005).

NADA recognised the diversity of relationships and social support networks that exist and has broadly defined 'family' to include immediate and extended family, partners, friends, carers, and anyone who plays a significant part in a consumers life. Other terms used include 'carer' and 'significant other'.

Tools for change: a new way of working with families and carers
NADA has developed a toolkit to assist it's members in working towards family inclusive practice. Click here to download the toolkit.


"Shame & stigma is a powerful force in our community when it comes to drugs ... families start to feel very lonely and isolated" - Tony Trimingham (Family Drug Support)

"When your loved one is in addiction it is very hard to see any hope. It is like being in a tunnel with no end. It can pretty depressing for the carers - you have to have some hope that there will  be a recovery so that you can go on & encourage your loved one to go on." - A family member

"Workers in the D&A area ...encounter some terrible situations yet they continue with their work & encourage those in addiction to change their ways.Carers are no different - it is just that  we are not paid and generally have to cope for longer periods of time." - A family member


Family inclusive practice in NSW non government alcohol and other drugs agencies
Click here to download a report on the outcomes of the NADA Family and Carer Project and needs analysis of NADA members in 2011.

Click here for more information on the NADA Family and Carer Project.

For more information on working with families please contact Robert on 02 8113 1320.


     Do you have a family member with an alcohol or drug issue?   


           Help is available 24 hours  a day, 7 days a week:        


  Family Drug Support (FDS)      

          Ph: 1300 368 186      



            Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS)         

          Ph: (02) 9361 8000      

          1800 422 599 (rural)