Genetic counsellors are health professionals with training in genetics and counselling, who provide information and support to individuals and families who have concerns about a genetic condition in their family. Genetic counsellors are supported by geneticists, who are specialised medical doctors who have training in clinical genetics. A geneticist can provide diagnostic services and arrange genetic testing.
Genetic counsellors and geneticists will review your family history and potentially arrange for further testing of yourself/the individual with the genetic condition and/or related family members.
Seeing a genetic counsellor is an opportunity to raise any questions and concerns you have about the genetic condition.
You may be referred to a genetic counsellor by your medical professionals (i.e. GP), or you may self-refer.
In Western Australia, genetic counselling is offered by the Genetic Services of WA.
More information can be found at: health.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Genetic-Services-of-WA
Counselling for Carers
Acting as a carer may be at times confronting and overwhelming. Speaking to a counsellor is a valuable way to prevent stress, ensuring carers can continue in their vital role.
The Carers Association of WA offers experienced counsellors to support carers to manage conflict, stress, grief and other factors affecting their emotional wellbeing, and develop coping skills that will improve your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing overall.
Counselling can be offered over the phone, face-to-face, through email or Skype.
More information can be found at: carerswa.asn.au/carers-wa-services/counselling
Muscular Dystrophy WA
Muscular Dystrophy WA understands that during different stages in a person life they may find it beneficial to speak with a professional regarding living with a neuromuscular condition. Therefore Muscular Dystrophy WA provides access to a free counselling service for people living with neuromuscular conditions and their families.
All sessions are confidential and can be accessed at a number of locations across WA. For people unable to access face to face counselling, telephone and email counselling is also available.
If you or a family member would like to access this support service or want like further information, please contact MDWA on 9380 3400.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health. Living with disability, or caring for an individual with disability, results in a complex and compounded set of personal challenges which may leave your mental health at risk.
Caring for your mental health and the mental health of those around you is important and it is imperative that you reach out for professional help when you feel that you need it.
If you are worried about your mental health, or the mental health of someone close to you, make an appointment with your general practitioner, and ask for a Mental Health Plan when you are booking. After the process of creating a plan, your GP will provide options for accessing help, potentially including seeing a clinical psychologist.
In an emergency situation, call 000 or the Mental Health Emergency Response Line on 1300 555 788.