Welcome readers and those who care for someone. As you might already know, not only am I an author raising awareness of carers, but I am also a poet. I find poetry an excellent way to raise awareness of social causes. A good poem can reach the hearts and minds of those trying to understand caring.
I am sure many out there are aware that carers can often remain hidden. The world of unpaid care is often carried out behind closed doors. This might not be a problem, but when the role of caring becomes stressful then we need raise awareness of the plight of unpaid carers.
I feel even when someone becomes uninvolved in caring for someone close to them, they are still in the background somewhere inquiring about the person health and wellbeing. I feel a lot of carers can be a link in that chain.
So in my 3rd book on using poetry to raise awareness of those caring for someone with mental illness, I wrote a poem called “The Hidden Link”.
Feel free to listen to the poem below. I would love to get people’s views on what they think about the poem.
You can also get my poetry book from the Amazon link below.
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 fellow unpaid carers. I am doing a quick update of most of my carer forums that I facilitate in London. These groups focus on mental health carers. Basically people who are caring for someone going through mental illness.
LEWISHAM MENTAL HEALTH CARER FORUM UPDATE
Members of the Lewisham group were interested in how the Ladywell Unit was performing for unpaid carers. The Ladywell mental health unit has several wards. The unit is based at Lewisham & Greenwich NHS trust. We were joined by Inpatient carer engagement Eunice Adeshokan who gave us an update. We were also joined by Cath Collins who leads on engaging carers in the community.
The next speaker was Caroline Norrie who is a research fellow at Kings College London. She spoke about research regarding addictions and the gambling industry.
She kindly passed on details on support services
Online gambling: GamStop is a free scheme that can be used to allow gamblers to self-exclude from online gambling websites and apps run by companies licensed in Great Britain. http://www.gamstop.co.uk
Blocking software: A GamBan software licence enables people to block access to online gambling apps and websites. The licence can be obtained for free if it is requested through the National Gambling Helpline. https://gamban.com
It is worth noting that people can no longer use credit cards to pay for gambling.
Betting shops, casinos, arcades and bingo halls:
All gambling premises such as arcades, bingo halls and casinos must be part of a multi-operator self-exclusion scheme (MOSES). This allows a gambler to make a single request (by filling in a form) to self-exclude from all premises offering the same type of gambling, such as betting shops. Once a self-exclusion agreement is made, the gambling company must close the gambler’s account, return money in it, and remove personal details from their databases.
For my Southwark & Lambeth mental health carers forum, we were joined by Toby Lee-Manning who is the Carers Development Lead for St Christopher’s Hospice.
St Christopher’s Hospice exists to promote and provide skilled and compassionate palliative care, but there also should be a focus on unpaid carers who are caring for someone end of life. The difficultly appears when people who are providing unpaid care are not sure what to do.
Luckily St Christopher’s Hospice have developed online courses aimed at carers, this is what Toby presented to our group.
We were also joined by Damian Larkin who is the Digital Health Nurse Lead at South London & Maudsley NHS. Damian spoke about BETH. Basically Beth is a free and secure way for our patients and carers to stay connected with their care team.
For my ethnic carer forum we were joined by Carers UK. Patrick Knock presented a project where Carers UK is currently working a series of ‘Carers Active Stories’ videos to highlight to unpaid carers the benefits of being physically active from the perspective of a carer giving their firsthand experience.
Here is a video link below
Next was Simon Mayers who is the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Maudsley covering the borough of Lewisham. Simon updated the group on how Lewisham is working with the new equality policy. This policy is called “Patient Carer Race Equality Framework”. This framework is aimed at mental health NHS trust across England and it is important carers get a chance to get updates and raise any queries.
We also had Tafadzwa Marapara from Oxleas NHS trust. Oxleas is also adopting PCFREF and it was only fair to hear what they plan on engaging black carers and patients using their services.
Kevlin one of our carer members is heavily involved in PCREF over at the maudsley, so I gave him a chance to update the group. Plus we also had Halima Ali join us to speak about her research project on What are the Occupational experiences of BAME unpaid mental health carers for people with a mental health diagnosis?”
SW LONDON MENTAL HEALTH CARER FORUM
This carer forum is slightly different from my other carer forums. This one covers multiple boroughs as we are developing a strong carers network. This group covers Richmond, Merton, Kingston, Wandsworth and Sutton. We get support from all 5 carer centres.
This group also spends a fair bit of time for carers to update how things have been progressing. We were also joined by Nicole Smith who is a Darzi Fellow in Integrated Medicine. She spoke to the group about Virtual Wards and how they are important regarding the NHS. She is also doing some research.
You can give feedback on her survey at the link below
This forum is slightly different as it is linked the the Greenwich carer peer group I facilitate for the borough. Greenwich Carers centre help me run the group. This forum runs every 2 months.
The forum was filled with a lot of speakers so I was glad that Oxleas work hard to engage with carers.
We were joined by Catherine Seabourne who is Oxleas Head of Nursing. She talked about her role and answered queries from carers. We were hoping to hear developments from Jason McCulloch who Service Manager regarding Greenwich Carers Strategy, Jason was unable to attend.
We were also joined by Ariane Zegarra and Janice Williamson. Janice is the new Carers Network Lead for Oxleas. We were given updates regarding social care.
This was the January update for most of my carer groups.
There is an exciting opportunity for mental health carers and those who have used Increasing Access to Psychological therapies.
Have you used Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services?
If so, you might be interested in helping shape research exploring IAPT services to improve long term benefits for those with anxiety and/or depression. A new Advisory group is forming, but there are limited places.
Please see poster below.
For more information please contact email@example.com
Welcome back to my carer blog site. I have been resting for a week or so. Well to be honest, I caught a nasty cold. So was not able to do much, but now that I have nearly recovered, I am back to writing again. I am still working on my carer fictional stories. Each story will be part of an audiobook called “Providing Care & Other Short Stories”.
There will be a set of 20 short stories looking into the experiences of carers who fight to provide care for someone suffering mental illness. Each of the stories will have a specific theme. I have turned 3 of the stories into video format already and plan to turn more into videos.
Here is one of the videos below.
Some of the stories will be in an audio format.
I have nearly finished my 7th story called “A Story of Hope”. This story might seem dark in some of the things it raises, but as the title suggests there is still some hope.
The story begins with a young woman visiting a mental health hospital trying to find out why someone ended up in there. It is a shock and a mystery as she is thrown into a desperate situation.
The young woman tries her hardest to fight for the person she loves, but has the damage already been done? She has never faced such a situation before and she does not known who to trust. She is still struggling with the past, but is the past going to catch up with her?
Of course I do not want to spoil the story, but the story does raise important themes on what it is like to care for mental illness.
I hope to finish this story soon and work on the 8th short story called “Discriminated”.
Welcome back to another blog by carer, poet and carer activist Matthew McKenzie. I am working on an audiobook of fiction carer stories. These stories focus on the experience of mental health carers.
When I am talking about mental health carers, I am referring to friends or mainly someone in the family caring for a relative.
The stories are from the audiobook “Providing Carer & Other Short Stories”, the audiobook will contain 20 short stories focusing on the struggles unpaid carers face, young carer challenges, discrimination ethnic carers may face and overall raising that awareness.
I have now released the 2nd short story called “Digging out of a hole“, which can be watched off my YouTube channel below. The story is how a young man struggles to face up to the role of being a mental health carer.
Welcome to my online site that focuses on unpaid carers. The site usually focuses on those caring for someone with a mental illness. This particular blog is on access to online learning resources.
The world is changing, since the 2019 pandemic, many more online learning resources e.g. access to help and advice, benefit info, event info and even carer groups have all most online. What if the carer struggles with the computer? what if the carer does not know how to join online groups?
It was a struggle to access online resources before the pandemic, but it still is a challenge. Some good news, Lewisham Carers Hub have received funding to allow carers to learn about computers and accessing online information. Please see the poster below
Welcome to another blog post by carer Matthew Mckenzie who raises awareness of mental health carers as an Author, activist and poet. I have been quite busy working on several books, although for this particular blog I am focusing on how my audiobook is developing. This audiobook is called “Providing Care & other short stories”.
You can actually watch my first carer story at the end of the blog.
The audiobook will contain 20 short stories focusing on the experience and challenges of those caring for someone suffering mental illness. Each story will raise common themes mental health carers face, e.g. the anxiety of suddenly falling into the caring role, dealing with carer or mental health stigma, clashes with confidentiality, discrimination and misunderstandings, Young carers, minority and ethnic carers and more. There will be plenty other themes I will be raising regarding unpaid carers.
The first story providing care focuses on a young woman who suddenly falls into providing care, even if she thinks she is not a carer. I do not go and outright tell readers and listeners what is going on, I want them to discover the themes themselves and let me know what they have found out.
A lot of audio stories will be changed into video stories, depends how much time I have on my plate. I am still busy writing the stories and working on a story about a woman in a same sex partnership, unfortunately LGBTQ partnerships can still be driven into mental illness. A lot of the stories I write are quite dark, but those stories do need to be told.
Let us focus on the story Providing Care.
The story tells of a young women named Shelia caught unaware when her husband Tom begins to act strangely. Shelia becomes concerned, confused and wondering what to do next. She is thrown into a situation she has not been trained for as her world turns upside down.
It is not long before Shelia tries to save what is left of her relationship by doing all that she can, but can this be enough?
The story “Providing Care” highlights the sudden realisation of falling into unpaid care, there is little preparation if any at all. You can actually watch the draft of this the story for free by clicking the link below…..Enjoy!!