If you are experiencing personal or relationship problems, there are a range of services and support available to you.
Most of us struggle with personal issues at some time. These issues can affect our work, our relationships and our day-to-day life.
Often the best way to deal with personal issues is to talk to someone. Perhaps there is a friend or someone in your family or your community with whom you feel comfortable talking.
Many people find it easier to talk about their problems with someone they do not know. If you would prefer this, you might like to a professional counsellor, social worker or psychologist.
Support services for personal issues
Professional counsellors, social workers and psychologists can help people living with emotional, mental health and lifestyle problems. They also help them to understand themselves and their behaviour better. They do this by:
- explaining options
- setting goals
- providing therapy
- supporting the person to take action.
To find professional support in your area, ask your local doctor for a recommendation or contact a community health service.
For more information about specialist services for people experiencing mental health issues, see the Mental health services and programs explained fact sheet.
For information about specialist services for people experiencing family safety, sexual abuse or family violence issues contact 1800 RESPECT (Tel. 1800 737 732), the national sexual assault, domestic violence and counselling service. You can also contact dedicated family violence support services in your local community.
For more information about specialist services for people experiencing drug or alcohol problems, see the Alcohol and drug treatments and programs fact sheet.
All families have disagreements from time to time. Disagreements are normal in healthy relationships. It is the way these disagreements are handled that is important.
In respectful relationships, people talk through their disagreements. They reach compromises through two-way conversation and negotiation.
Sometimes, however, underlying issues such as problems at work or financial pressures can cause family members to clash more often.
If you reach a point where you feel you can no longer deal with these difficulties on your own, it is a good idea to get some outside help. It can often be better to talk to someone who is not connected to the family.
You might already know a counsellor, or you could ask your local doctor for a recommendation. Your local community health centre can also help.
Violence or abuse is never acceptable. If you are experiencing family and domestic violence, you are not alone – help is available.
If you are not feeling safe in your relationship, either emotionally or physically, it’s important to seek the right help. Family violence or other behaviours that feel controlling are not a ‘relationship issue’.
For information about specialist services for people experiencing family safety, sexual abuse or family violence issues, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732). 1800 RESPECT is the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. You can also contact dedicated family violence support services in your local community.
Relationship advice services for couples and families
The Family Relationship Advice Line provides information and advice to anyone experiencing or affected by a family relationship or separation issue. You can call the advice line on 1800 050 321.
If your family problems are specifically related to parenting, you can call Parentline in your state or capital territory for the cost of a local call. The Parentline Victoria service (Tel. 13 22 89) is available from 8 am to midnight, seven days a week, including public holidays. See ‘where to get help’ for Parentline services in other states and territories.
Family Relationships Online is an Australian Government website that can help direct you to the right type of face-to-face service to meet your needs. Visit Family Relationships Online for information about how to access:
- adolescent mediation and family therapy
- family violence support
- family counselling
- family relationship education and skills training
- family relationship services for carers
- men and family relationship services.
Relationships Australia is a community-based, not-for-profit organisation that offers relationship services, including:
- family, relationship and individual counselling
- family violence support services
- family dispute resolution
- relationship and parenting skills education
- community support
- employee assistance programs
- professional training.
Services and programs are available nationally. Call 1300 364 277 for assistance.
Counselling services for same-sex couples and families
If you are in a same-sex relationship and would like help from a same-sex-friendly practitioner to work through relationship or parenting issues, contact Switchboard Victoria (Tel. 1800 184 527). Switchboard offers counselling, information and referrals for LGBTIQA+ people and their friends, families and allies.
The Australian Lesbian Medical Association (ALMA) has created a list of doctors and mental health professionals recommended by women within the LGBTIQA+ community. The list includes general practitioners and specialists, as well as metropolitan and rural doctors.
Family relationship centres are for people of all cultural backgrounds
The Australian Government funds family relationship centres across Australia. These services are available for people from all communities and cultural backgrounds.
Family relationship centres provide:
- information about family relationships at all stages
- confidential (private) help for families
- help through a separation
- services that are sensitive to your cultural background.
The centre will arrange for an interpreter if you ask for one.
Read about family relationship centres in your language.
Visit Family Relationships Online to find your nearest family relationship centre.
Where to get help
- Your GP (doctor)
- 1800 RESPECT Tel. 1800 737 732
- Family Relationship Advice Line Tel. 1800 050 321
- Family Relationships Online
- Ngala Parenting Line WA – Tel. (08) 9368 9368 (metro) or 1800 111 546 (regional, freecall), 8am to 8pm, seven days a week
- Parent Helpline South Australia – Tel.1300 364 100, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Parent Line NSW – Tel.1300 1300 52, 9am to 9pm Monday – Friday; 4pm to 9pm Saturday – Sunday
- Parent Line Tasmania – Tel.1300 808 178, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Parentline ACT – Tel. (02) 6287 3833, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
- Parentline Queensland and the Northern Territory – Tel. 1300 30 1300, 8 am – 10pm, 7 days a week
- Parentline Victoria – Tel. 13 22 89, 8 am – midnight, 7 days a week, including public holidays
- Switchboard Victoria (LGBTIQA+ support) Tel. (03) 9663 2939 or 1800 184 527
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Relationships Australia Victoria
Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.