Providing carer support in the Illawarra

It is not only patients who need support when they are suffering a mental health issue, their carers also need tools to help them manage the pressures of their loved ones illness, says South Coast Private Hospital psychologist Merrylord Harb- Azar.

In response to this need the hospital has developed a personalised six point carer support program to help families better cope with a loved one’s illness.

Ms Harb-Azar helped set up and implement the program and is further developing and evaluating its success.

“We started consulting with the Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI) Illawarra, an organisation that supports carers.

“Through these consultations we discovered carers also required their own support and advocacy. We investigated how the carer can respectfully support the patient’s changes and provide them with new coping skills.

“Some of the feedback we received from the consultations included ‘I wish there was a direct line to a carer liaison officer’, ‘ways to deal with difficult situations’, and ‘helping me understand what my partner is going through’,” said Ms Harb-Azar.

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On 13 April 2017, Healthe Care Australia (“Healthe Care”), Australia’s third largest corporate private hospital operator and pan-Asian health care services group acquired Evolution Healthcare’s three Illawarra hospitals: Shellharbour Private Hospital, South Coast Private Hospital and Wollongong Day Surgery.

Healthe Care currently has:

  • 35 private hospitals (34 in Australia and one in New Zealand)
  • Approaching 7,000 staff
  • Near 2,500 hospital beds

While this website is updated to reflect Healthe Care guidelines, please access information regarding the hospital and its services as usual. For further information about Healthe Care and its 35-strong hospital network, please visit