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Family & friends support

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can have a significant impact, not just on the person who has been diagnosed, but also their family and friends.

Each family and each person living with MS will go through their own unique experiences. There is no one way to deal with the diagnosis.

When you first hear news that a loved one has been diagnosed with MS, your first instinct might be to offer help and support.

An important step to enable you to do this is to learn a little bit more about MS and what it might mean to the person you are supporting. MSWA offers a variety of up to date resources where you can learn more about the basics of MS.

The period immediately after a diagnosis is often an emotional one for everyone involved, the person diagnosed and those close to them.

When speaking with someone you are close to who is newly diagnosed it is important to remember they may be experiencing some very strong emotions. Fear, sadness and anxiety are the primary emotions that you both may share right now.

Some people can also feel very vulnerable, isolated and angry at their diagnosis and this can be hard to witness as a friend or family member. Everyone deals with emotions in their own way and in their own time.

It is normal for you and the person you are close to, to feel some or all of these feelings and it is very important to keep the lines of communication open at this time. Be gentle with each other and understand that this is a time you can both feel overwhelmed.

Sometimes what the newly diagnosed person needs from you, is for you to be a good listener and acknowledge their feelings without offering solutions. This can be hard as often we want to fix what is hurting those we are close to.

This is why it is very important that you get help for yourself if you need to. You remaining strong, supportive and as calm as possible is what will help both of you move through this difficult time.

Access your own personal support systems and also the supports offered to you by MSWA. This will help keep you emotionally strong and help you build a healthy pathway to support the person you are close to.

MSWA staff are available to assist you and your family in coping with the practical and emotional difficulties you may be experiencing. You can contact us by calling 9365 4888 or by emailing We would love to hear from you and help you navigate this challenging time with your loved one.

Show your support

With your support, MSWA are delivering real things to real people living with neurological conditions in Western Australia.

It is easy to show your support. You can buy a raffle ticket, a lottery ticket, even an entertainment book, or simply donate.

Find out more.