Championing carers

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Welcome to another blog post by Matthew Mckenzie a carer for someone surviving mental health problems.  I thought I would write this blog post on mental health carers who can sometimes be ignored by the system designed to recognize and support them.

It might seem wrong not to recognising mental health survivors themselves in this blog and perhaps I do them a great injustice by mentioning carers so much, but I guess this blog is primarily aimed at carers and one day I will certainly add more about how us carers struggle to understand the mental health difficulties our loved ones go through.  To survive and battle mental health you would have to be such a strong person and us carers need to acknowledge this.

Recently I took part in a consultation, which took the views and opinions from many experts in the field of carers and mental health.  You can see the video below.

However back to mental health carers, we carers need some understanding ourselves.  It seems mental health carers are almost hidden away among other carers because as with mental health services, mental health carers do not often get the publicity we so desperately need.

When we think of carers, we often think that they are care workers or even nurses looking after old people, just check on Getty images and you will struggle to find a mental health carer or a younger person being cared for.  So lets not underestimate the battle unpaid carers have to face in order to be understood and be recognized.

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People feel that mental health carers have an easy time sustaining relationships with their loved ones when unfortunately those suffering from schizophrenia have a fear or delusion to those close to them.  Sometimes the system can take advantage of those who fear their carers and use it to shut carers out via confidentiality issues, blame, suspicion and labeling such carers as dangerous.

I am not saying all mental health services do the above, but then not mental health systems are perfect and they often do have to rely on us carers to help out.  Carers like myself or those fighting so hard for their loved ones certainly need to be championed, because carers do so many tasks and chores to keep life stable, the mental drain on carers can often go unnoticed as carers worry constantly about the ill health of their loved one.

Mental Health Carers advocate, sort out finances, liaise with health professionals, chase medical records, train hard to even learn some psychiatry themselves as they seek to emulate health professionals and fight hard to sustain that relation which has been fractured by mental ill health.

Girl upset, mother in the background.

Girl suffering, Carer worried in the background.

Us mental health carers should not be forgotten and even though we quietly support our loved ones, we must be aware that we should be championed and that we are valued and have a place in providing a better environment for those who we support.

There is a consultation on carers being championed and if you are a mental health carer, it would be great if you could fill out the form below.

This consultation aims to gather a range of views from carers, and across the community, to identify where barriers exist and suggest solutions for improving carers’ support.  The link to the consultation is: www.bit.do/carers.

Good luck on your caring Journey

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