S4 E4: Spotlight – Helping the Helpers

Most of us can probably identify a person in the community who always steps up to help out. They might organise a local gathering to talk about something impacting your town or pull their sleeves up for a community working bee. It can be a very rewarding experience to be involved in local community initiatives, but it can also be personally draining. So, how can we help the helpers? In this episode you’ll hear about why community participation is crucial in creating healthy communities, how you can help support those ‘champions’ within your community and what you can do to keep mentally well and combat compassion fatigue.

Guest Speakers

Angela Kane is from the community of Cobargo which was terribly devastated by the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-20. Six months on from the fires and Angela was integral to the organisation of the ‘Women In Industry On The Land’ brunch in Cobargo, where local women shared stories and spoke about mental health supports available in the region. Angela is a shining example of the difference one person can make to the health and wellbeing of their communities.


Jennie Keioskie has a degree in psychology and a postgraduate degree in social work and has worked in mental health and wellbeing for over 20 years. Being a country girl at heart, Jennie has always lived and worked in rural Australia and has a passion for bringing high-quality services to those who live outside the major metropolitan and regional areas.

Jennie has been on the RAMHP team since early 2010 and believes the success of the program is its ability to build on and support many of the strengths that are inherent in rural communities such as community connectedness and innovative and creative problem solving.


Whether you’re a community volunteer or work professionally in caring professions such as nursing, social work, psychology or are a first responder, chances are you’re a pretty compassionate person who wants to help others.

But looking after or helping individuals or communities in need can take its toll on even the kindest, most caring amongst us and deplete our compassion reserves. Psychologists call this ‘compassion fatigue’, a state of exhaustion as a result of prolonged exposure to compassion stress. [1]

Because those caring for and helping others can be vulnerable to fatigue and burn-out, it’s important that we can identify when one of our ‘helpers’ is becoming fatigued and offer them support and a helping hand where we can.

Psychological symptoms of compassion fatigue include a reduced ability to feel empathy towards others, mood swings, irritability and being over-sensitive. Compassion fatigue can also elicit physical symptoms like headaches, sleep disturbances and fatigue. [1]


Carer Gateway – 1800 422 737 

Carer Gateway helps carers. If you care for a family member or friend, then Carer Gateway could help you.

Carer Gateway have phone counselling, available 5 days a week from 8am to 6pm on 1800 422 737. They also provide an online carer forum, and self-guided coaching and skills courses to give you support, skills and information.

Carer Gateway:

  • provides practical information and advice
  • helps you to get the services and support you need
  • provides free counselling services over the phone
  • provides free coaching to help you in your role
  • lets you connect with other carers through a community forum

CRANAplus Bush Support Services – 1800 805 391

The chal­lenges that face remote health work­ers in their day to day lives (both at work and just by liv­ing remote­ly) are dif­fer­ent than those liv­ing with the sup­port found in larg­er region­al and urban areas. CRANAplus’ Bush Sup­port Ser­vices recog­nis­es this and offers unique and help­ful resources that draw on its vast net­work and spe­cialised knowl­edge. CRANAplus sees Bush Sup­port Ser­vices as vital in retain­ing a healthy and resilient work­force in the remote sec­tor and makes health work­er sup­port a priority.

Through Bush Sup­port Ser­vices, CRANAplus is able to pro­vide 24/7 per­son­alised care for remote health work­ers and their families. 

You don’t have to be a mem­ber to utilise this service.

CANAplus qual­i­fied psy­chol­o­gists are expe­ri­enced in the remote sec­tor and know first-hand, the best resources for those with unique sup­port needs. They have an under­stand­ing that the par­tic­u­lar men­tal health of both Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous remote health work­ers is a result of the unique nature of remote work.

It’s free and it’s con­fi­den­tial. You can also remain anony­mous at all times, if you wish. Calls from mobile phones to the Bush Sup­port Ser­vices 1800 805 391. Toll Free Num­ber can be returned at the caller’s request.

This Way Up

This Way Up provides step-by-step strategies for managing stress, anxiety and low mood.

Their range of tailored online courses are designed to teach you proven psychological skills to transform your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours so you can make a positive change in your life.

This Way Up is run by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers, and web technicians based at the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) – a joint facility of St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of New South Wales.

Help Services

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call the NSWMental Health Line 1800 011 511 for advice.

Having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now? The following services are there to listen and help you out. They are confidential and available 24/7.