Hello everyone and fellow carers. Just a quick blog post now that Carers Week has ended. For those who do not know about Carers Week, basically it is an awareness event that looks to raise the awareness of unpaid carers throughout the week of June 8th – 14th.
Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million carers.
My view on how Carers Week 2020 went
I am not sure if many people or blogs mention views on post events. I felt Carers Week 2020 really raised the bar for Carers week 2021 due to the amount of activities, events and awareness drives from people, charities and organisations. I have been involved in quite a few carer awareness events over that week.
It was great to see so many mental health trusts help promote the awareness of mental health carers. Mental Health can often be portrayed as the hidden illness and due to the theme of Carers Week 2020 “Making Carers visible”, it is so important carers become unhidden.
Mental illness can come with stigma and so caring can also come with its own stigma. Some people caring for someone with a serious mental illness can remain hidden due to shame, guilt or desperately holding on to the family relationships. Many do not know or understand that if they are caring then they ARE carers.
Carers Week gives the chance to tackle carer stigma and more. Carers need as much awareness as possible.
My Thanks for Carers Week
I would like to thank Carers Week for involving me and giving me a chance to voice my carer’s experience.
It was great to see my story mentioned in South London and Maudsley’s blog posts.
There of course were other carer awareness raising events from other MH NHS trusts I am involved in as I noticed West London’s own carer story also appeared (shown below).
With Oxleas, SWLSTG, CNWL NHS Trust and many others also promoting Carers Week, I hope they continue to support the important work carers do.
I would also like to thank Carers Lambeth Hub for their promotional video on Carers Week shown below
I even did my own video
Lastly I want to thank the charity SANE for helping to promote my views regarding mental health Caring.
Beyond Carers Week
With Carers Week there is always a chance to educate not only health professionals and decision makers, but also the carers themselves. There is no shame in being there for someone, even if the mental illness pushes you away. You would want to be there for the person you care for and not see them continue to suffer.
The state of health and social care now demands carers put in extra to support who they care for, because with the strain on the system it seems the community must take on more. We know health and social care has done so much, but with the lack of nurses entering the profession, lack of social workers, strain on the NHS and the impact of COVID-19 more will be asked of the millions of carers across the UK.
Carers Week is aware of these challenges and those involved will do as much as they can to reduce the strain on Carers. Still we all know that with the end of Carers Week, Carers will continue to rely on charities like Carers Trust and CarersUK and the support of the carer centres and the health and social care system.
I am not asking for much but continued awareness and involvement of families and carers, we deserve to be recognised.
My Carers Pledge
As I move from my role as carer to expert by experience. I will strive to also continue my role running my carer forums and carer support groups aimed at mental health carers. You can check out my online carer groups below
I will promote the importance of involving, identifying and engaging with carers of those suffering mental illness and I will work to promote mental health. My focus will also be on carer peer support, but also advocating for carer empowerment as carers must be given the chance to query systems and policies.
Thanks for reading my blog post.