Welcome to another blog post by mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. On this blog post, I want to talk about making a difference as a carer. Back in December 2016, I was invited to help judge a Hackathon event from Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, they provide mental health services for people living in south east England, that being the areas of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and Medway.
I have never been to a Hackathon before, so I was not sure what to expect and felt a little nervous. For 15 years and continuing I have been a carer for a loved one and I often wondered if I was to judge an event, what could I bring to the table?
As I arrived at The Brighthelm Centre located in Brighton, the centre was buzzing with energy and I noticed people arriving who seemed really excited, some who I talked to also wondered what was in store at the Hackathon. This is when I met host Scott Durairaj who calmly welcomed attendees and explained more about the Hackathon.
Basically the Hackathon event is where interested professionals, patients, carers and the public get together and start hacking away at the challenges prescribed to a mental health trust. The purpose, values and visions of the trust should be shared in the community and beyond.
Throughout the day I felt welcomes by the community of Sussex as they strove hard to make a difference regarding the 10 different challenges which was required to be hacked. The attendees had to take into account the time limit to provide solutions to the Hackathon, the use of data and the drive and commitment in order to solve the problems.
As a carer I felt my input to the event certainly made a difference because the community seemed interested in what I had to say as a carer judge. I am aware that Sussex Partnership NHS Trust is going through some tough challenges as well as the community of Sussex, but if we all work together to solve the problems then only good things can come of this.
One of the most important aspects of that event is how every was so friendly and welcoming to all who attended. It was amazing to see people work so hard and be passionate about the challenges provided to them.
At the event I was proud to have gotten help judging the event from Angela baker, Lucy Seren, Joe Williams and others. I can only hope that the winners of the event have their solutions incorporated and provided throughout the mental health services within the area of Sussex.
Good luck in your caring journey