Welcome back to my website. I have been busy working on my latest projects. I am raising awareness of unpaid carers. My speciality focuses on those caring for someone with mental illness.
As a poet and author I have several books on amazon that focus on the lived experience of unpaid carers.
I have just released my latest story, which can be difficult to listen to. Still, it is important to tell things how people experience them. My latest carer story called “Angry” focuses on a young mother thrown trying to fight for the right to care for her daughter. The struggle is made difficult because the mother is angry at the world, but the system is so cruel that her daughter is now at risk. Can her mother provide care in time?
So far I have produced 4 other carer stories which you can watch below. These carer stories are all taken from the audiobook that I am working on. The audiobook will be called “Providing Care & Other short stories”. As usual the audiobook will raise awareness of those caring for someone with mental illness.
The next carer story is titled “Never thought it could be me”. This story explores what it is like to become a first time carer. We all think we might provide care when someone gets old, but life can change at any moment.
Below is another story about providing care. There are those thrown into providing unpaid care because family members feel they are not obligated to care. This story below explores the world of a young girl trying to provide care for her mother, but does her family understand why she is providing care?
The next story below “Digging out of a hole” explores the role of a male carer or what his understanding of a male carer is. The problem is that the young man is doing his role out of concern for his sister. No one else is there to help, so he feels he has no choice. The last thing he is concerned about is being thought of as a carer.
Below is my first carer story which is the main theme of the book. The story below is called “Providing Care”. This story explores the situation of a first time mental health carer. I feel the story below does rush things a little since as I believe the process of discovering mental illness can be a slow painful journey. If you wish to view the story, click on the video below.
Hello, everyone!! Merry Christmas thanks for joining me here today to explain a bit more about future projects that I’m going to be working on. Some of them actually, almost practically finished. So yep, my name. As you can see from the title here, my name is Matthew McKenzie, Carer campaigner, Mental health carer activist who facilitates several carer groups around half of London.
what I want to do is just explain a few things regarding some books that I’m working on. I’m going to start developing audiobooks, I will of course continue to work on paperbacks, one of them is in draft at the moment. I’ll talk about that in a bit.
If you want to see the video version of this blog, please watch below.
Special edition of my poetry Audio book – The Poetry book of mental health caring
So during summer 2022, I published my first poetry book. This was my first attempt at what I felt would be focusing on the experiences of providing mental health care. One of the reasons of doing poetry is that you don’t have to really read a whole book to just sort of reach out to those who perhaps understand, in a sense of what’s it like to provide care for someone with mental ill health. Plus to also reach out to those who’ve never experienced it.
So I’m doing an audiobook project on my poetry, but with the added benefit of contributions from other carers who are activists or are poets who want to produce poetry on the carers experiences. So I’m hoping to publish in early 2023, January, February, by that time, that audiobook will be coming out.
Race, caring and mental health
The next book, which is not an audio book, will be in paperback form. I felt it was due time to come out. This is because I have been writing books close to two years now. I have also been running as carer groups, but two of them focus on ethnic carers coming from ethnic minority background, so obviously, they are providing care and support to someone experiencing some form of mental illness.
I’ve been meaning to develop a book like this for some time looking at how mental illness can impact on the family, on friends, not from the patient side. Let’s look at this new book closely. The book titled “Race, Caring and Mental Health”. From it’s first chapter, I often say to many people that it’s important to tell your story. With this book, I felt it even more important due to some of the tragic consequences that can happen to ethnic minority groups providing unpaid care. This is it’s not just within the mental health system as the book’s second chapter will be looking at discrimination and racism, and links to mental health, for the other chapters, they will focus on health inequalities and the structures. The book will explore the deadly roundabout regarding the repeat situations of those going in and out of the mental health system. Why does this occur?
I don’t have the answers and can only share my ideas of what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard, but I know what I’m learning about. I’d be really interested on people’s views of my new book, which is in draft form at the moment and I will probably change a couple of pages in the hope to release this around January 2023.
Providng Care and other Short Stories
Lastly my 6th piece of work will be an audiobook, similar to the project of the poetry audiobook. But this time I want to work towards fiction. Now, I’ve been writing two years now. Most of the books that I’ve been doing are not fiction at all. I mean, I suppose you could argue in some sense that poetry is looking at certain topics that may or may not happen. So this new audiobook will be my first attempt at fiction, including 20 short stories about unpaid care, here are some of the stories below.
This audio book will explore some of the following carer themes.
Providing Care Story about a woman finding out her husband has developed a form of mental illness, she now has to battle to become an unpaid carer.
Digging out of a hole A young man caring for his sister, but this time there are horrible things that make his life difficult.
A family Affair Story of a main carer feeling isolated by the family, everything is thrown at her and no one wants to help.
Never thought it would be me A female carer whose partner is caught in a serious accident, her life is turned upside down as she battles to provide care for him.
Angry A carer thrown into anger and despair as she is let down time and time again, leading her to becoming angry.
Just when I needed you A story of carer peer support and why it is needed, a story that is more hopeful than previous stories.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a lovely holiday break.
Welcome back to a summary of chapter 3 of my book “Experiencing mental health caregiving”
This blog focuses on my 2nd book – Experiencing mental health caregiving. The book helps raise awareness of unpaid carers providing care to someone close suffering mental illness. The book highlights the experiences of providing unpaid caring.
For Chapter 3 – “Carer befriending and peer support” I asked carers several questions, but this video will look at the first question that being “What does carer peer support mean to you?
The reason I asked such a question was down to how can carers relate to others when caring can be a private and personal experience. Do carers know they can get support from others to reduce stigma and increase carer knowledge?
Just like the videos I have done on my 2nd book, I will sum up a few responses from those regarding “Carer Befriending and peer support”.
To check out the video summary see link below
So going back to my book, chapter 3 got responses regarding carer peer support, you can see the responses below.
One carer Jacqui Darlington responded
“A carer peer is someone who can offer emotional and practical support to another carer by using their own lived experiences which may enable them to overcome barriers, challenges and fears to achieve whatever it is they may need. They may also be known as Experts by Experience .”
I not only asked knowledgeable carers, but also engaged with mental health trusts.
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust rep responded
“We train people up as peer support workers or carer peer support workers. We are now employing them in the jobs at the NHS trust. I think as a carer peer support worker, the difference between that and pure peer support worker is that the carer peer has lived experience in caring. .”
One last point – Another carer responded
“To me, carer peer means supporting a carer who may be struggling with the sometimes overwhelming difficulties experienced when caring for a loved one with mental health issues. Being there for that carer, sharing personal experiences and showing an understanding of what they are going through”
I asked 8 other questions for Chapter 3,
Have you experienced carer befriending and what did it feel like?
Where should carer peer support be located?
Do you think there is enough education on carer peer support?
Would you befriend other carers?
Is there a line or boundary to carer peer support?
Is there a difference between carer peer support and service user peers?
Why is carer peer support lagging behind?
The responses I will cover in a later video, but to sum up What does carer peer support mean to you?
I noticed that lived experience was critical to becoming a peer carer. To share your understanding and knowledge of the caring role and help those new to caring is vital in forming a connection.
if you are interested about mental health carers, you can buy my book on the link below