Family Forum: Worried Mother

I am worried about my 33-year-old daughter who lives with me.


She is my only child and my husband died a few years ago. My daughter works in hospitality but does not get many hours. She is a permanent part-time casual. She earns a similar sum to the Newstart allowance but when we inquired if she would be eligible for it, if she gave up work, we were told no, as she would have resigned voluntarily. It seems so unfair. She has applied for different jobs but hasn’t had any luck. Working in hospitality is very stressful and the split shifts make any studying difficult. It is a catch-22. She only earns enough to get by but doesn’t qualify for help as she is working.Any solutions? She is depressed.


The Panel believes that simply helping someone to learn how to cope in a situation that does not suit them is probably not the best way forward. A more constructive solution is to take a longer term view and help your daughter to find a career path in an area where she has both interest and ability. If your daughter is uncertain or lacks confidence one way to “test the waters” of different areas is through volunteering with one of the many organisations who need such help.

It is also likely to be beneficial for her to seek some advice from a reputable career guidance service. A simple search on the internet will reveal several such websites and services in Adelaide. If your daughter decides that she would like to obtain a qualification and/or technical skill she may be eligible for Austudy. A search of the Australian Government Department of Human Services website will provide all the necessary details.

Whether depression is caused by stress or other unfortunate circumstances it is important to address it directly. One of the major problems with being depressed is that it negatively affects all areas of your life. Planning for the future, motivation, study and work performance will all suffer if your overall mood is “down”. On the other hand having a goal in life and being active both physically and mentally has been found to be a good way of combating it.

Although your daughter may be unhappy she may not be clinically depressed. The panel recommends that your daughter see a general practitioner who will assess her overall health and wellbeing. Physical health is important in fighting depression and the uncertainty of shift work can leave a person vulnerable to stress and illness.

If her physical health is fine then the doctor may formulate a Mental Health Care Plan with her and recommend some very low cost or bulk-billed consultations with a therapist who specialises in the area of depressive illness. Doctors and clinical psychologists can often help someone find ways out of difficult or challenging circumstances.

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Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

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