Connect with family
Every family goes through stressful times. Recognising when things aren't quite right - and knowing what to do next - will make family life more fulfilling.
Every family goes through stressful times. Knowing how to recognise the early warning signs is important. Having effective coping strategies to draw on as individuals, and as a family, like doing fun things together, taking time out for relaxation and finding regular time to talk with each other will help you and your family work through the tough times.
Make time for family
Life can be very hectic and it’s all too easy to take those closest to us for granted. It’s important to prioritise your family even when it’s hard to find the time.
Keep communication lines open
Whether it’s tackling big issues or just dealing with the day-to-day stuff, keep talking. Sharing thoughts, feelings and problems with those close to you helps to keep relationships strong and shows your support for each other.
Plan healthy and rewarding activities together
Sharing important and meaningful activities can help families stick together. Those activities can easily fall by the wayside when families are under the pump. If your family is going through a stressful period, plan rewarding activities together – they don’t have to be fun, just important for your family.
Plan rewarding activities with your family
Doing rewarding activities is a great way to strengthen your relationships and get back in touch with what's important for you as a family.
Use the Enjoyable and Rewarding Activities tool to identify activities and plan how to engage in them. Choose those activities that are the most appealing or important to your family.
Use this tool when you are planning to spend time with your family or if you get stuck for ideas for activities.
Stay connected to friends
It might seem odd but a great way to improve relationships within your family is to make sure that your outside relationships are healthy as well. In the same way that friends are an important source of support for individuals, communities are important supports for families. Get your family involved in school, sporting or other community groups.
Help your family by building connections in your community
Just like individuals, families are healthier if they have good social support.
Use the Social Connections tool to identify the people and groups in your community who can support your family.
When you’re starting out you may want to focus on getting involved with just one or two community groups. Over time, you can work on building a wider support network by reaching out to more people and groups.
The Social Connections tool is also available on the High Res app.
Work out what’s important
If you're stressed and overwhelmed, re-evaluating what’s really important to you in the short term might allow you to take some pressure off your family. Talking through what’s important and what can wait gives you breathing room and a sense that you’re working together.
My family is struggling
There may be some good reasons why your family is having problems. Maybe you’re dealing with a major life change, the kids are being a handful, your relationship is going through a rough patch or maybe a family member has developed a mental health problem. Mental health problems don’t just affect the individual; they can also impact the lives of partners, parents, siblings and children.
If you're a family member of a serving member or veteran, you might want to find out more about how service, deployment and readjusting to civilian life can affect your mental health. This website provides information about mental health and wellbeing as well as information about mental health disorders and their treatment. It will help you understand the effects that mental health problems have and, importantly, what you can do to manage and recover.
Let us help
Support is also available 24/7 through Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling. Open Arms provides free and confidential counselling to veterans and their families. Call 1800 011 046 for support.
Life in the military can include time apart from family and friends due to deployment, training or commitments such as Reserve duties. Serving members might experience living in different locations and having new experiences, some of which can be exciting but may also be difficult, or even traumatic.
Open Arms can provide individual, couple and family counselling to help improve your resilience, as well as enhance your mental health and wellbeing. Call 1800-011-046 for free and confidential 24/7 support.
Open Arms offers group treatment programs and educational workshops, relationship retreats, and suicide prevention workshops.