‘The issues carers face are very different to other parents’

Elise Davis and her son Tarrin, 14

Elise Davis and her son Tarrin, 14

Just twelve months after contacting Carer Gateway, Elise Davis wishes she had reached out for help years ago.

Elise was introduced to Carer Gateway by Different Journeys, a peer-support program that works to empower people with autism and their carers.

Like hundreds of thousands of carers across Victoria Elise hesitated, unsure if she was in fact a carer at all. Her son Tarrin, 14, “is high-functioning and is at a mainstream school and I wasn’t sure whether his disability was serious enough for us to be considered carers and thought that other people needed the support more.”

She placed contacting Carer Gateway on her to-do list, but it was the last thing at the end of exhausting days spent working and caring. She visited the website after work late at night. “Initially I thought Carer Gateway was just a website that I had to navigate and apply for services.”

But COVID and other stresses finally saw Elise call the Carer Gateway toll-free number.

She describes what happened next as “a beautiful, gentle process that’s really supportive”.

The Carer Gateway caseworker “connected me with a range of local services in our area, so now those services are ongoing and they help me to look after my physical and mental health.”

Elise has availed of counselling and respite, took yoga classes and joined a carer basketball team. She now has a “non-judgemental support network” of other parents and carers.

“Doing things to look after myself and then also connecting with other carers has been really beneficial,” she says.

“The issues carers face are very different to the issues that other parents face, if I’m hanging out with other carers I can just really be myself and talk about what is really happening in our life.”

Her partner, Tim and other children, Patrick aged 8 and Christian aged 11, now also receive Carer Gateway support.

“Before Carer Gateway we never realised that the children were young carers and also needed support,” she says.

“Now they are going out and meeting other siblings, and so they can connect as well and realise that they’re not alone.

“Now we’ve got this support network around the whole family,” Elise says

Elise has a message for other carers, especially those who are not certain that they are carers or think they can just manage on their own.

“Call Carer Gateway and speak to someone. I’ve realised that the only way you  can do your caring role well is if you take care of yourself, whether that’s taking time away for a walk or relaxation. It is really important.”

“You’ve got nothing to lose. Once you make the call, it’s still all in your hands. You may not be ready to do counselling or whatever, but you then have someone you can go back to and say you know what? Now I am ready.

“They understand that your life is really busy and work around that.”


  • Phone: 1800 422 737, Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time
  • Web: carergatewaysupport.com.au

Carer Gateway was established in April 2020, just as COVID-19 emerged in Australia.

By |2022-03-08T10:21:40+10:00March 8th, 2022|News|

About the Author:

The Agenda Group
The Agenda Group is the largest provider of communications services to local government in Victoria and is a trusted adviser to government departments, agencies, not-for-profit organisations and large corporations in Australia.