Tag Archives: carer

Lewisham Mental Health Carers forum March 2022

Welcome to another quick update from my carer forums that I host. The forums are aimed at friends, families and unpaid carers who care for someone suffering mental illness. Here is the update from my Lewisham mental health carer forum for March 2022.

Speakers

Annie Dransfield – Carer Author of the book Releasing the Compassion.

  • Annie Dransfield presents.

Before I update on Annie’s presentation. I am developing a carer author circle, I only started the group this week for carer’s week and it is a little quiet, but the group has started. There are at least 5 to 6 of us and evetually we will try our best to support each other and promote the cause of caring.

Annie mentioned that her son was born with a lack of oxygen, which resulted in him having cerebral palsy down his left side and having special needs. She didn’t realise that she was a carer at that time, because it never crosses your mind, she just knew that she has a baby, and he needs looking after. Everyone knew he needed a lot of care and attention, and needed to find out how they were going to deal with the cerebral palsy.

In fact it wasn’t that severe that he needed to be in a wheelchair, but as he got older, due to the complications at birth, he was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. So, all through these years that she has been caring, she has come up against a lot of injustices. These injustices drove her to write the book.

Ann just felt it was a constant battle when you are caring and that you’re dealing with every single aspect of a person’s life. So you’re dealing with so many organisations like benefits, like Social Security, like housing, all these things, every single aspect of a person’s life. One of the bigger challenges was her son getting into debt quite often and having to deal with the banks. The banks seemed to not be too carer friendly and this made life very difficult for Ann and her son.

Ann was very involved with Leeds partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She was a governor for the mental health trust, but this all started when her son became more unwell. As Annie has been caring, she got involved with care support groups. She then got onto different boards, anything to do with caring, carer involvement, parent participation, participation groups, then she became a governor for the leads and York partnership NHS Foundation trust. Annie then became a trustee for carers UK, which she has just since retired.

Annie feels that she has got more of an understanding of the complexities due to expericing all the injustices that she has had to deal with for 43 years. In the end it prompted her to write the book. It’s been bubbling up inside of her for three years. She felt that she had to get this message out, even if it’s just to give hope to new carers that can pick up some hints and tips from the book.

The book “Releasing the Compassion: An expose of the threat that is binding the hands of our community’s most needed carers” is intended as a learning resource as well for NHS students in mental health. It’s intended as a learning resource for professionals like corporate independent businesses e.g. the banks.

You can buy Annie Dransfield’s book on the link below

https://www.waterstones.com/book/releasing-the-compassion/annie-dransfield//9781919606309

  • Questions and comments from carer members

How can we protect our loved ones from financial problems and abuse?

What is that lasting power of attorney or warranty?

I think if with COVID, there was ripe opportunity for some fraudulent behaviour to go on, because people couldn’t leave their house. They did put measures in place and other post office did saying you could nominate someone to go and collect your money

I cannot wait to order your book. I can also say I have experience in trying to deal with banks and the problems of them struggling to secure the debts of someone suffering mental ill health.

Carer Poem : The Journey by Matthew McKenzie

Welcome everyone especially unpaid carers. I am preparing a lot of things for Carers Week 2022. It looks to be an exciting set of activities for carers and those that work with them across the UK.

I am also been busy working on my new book for this year. It is a poetry book on the experiences of providing care to those suffering mental illness. This is from the perspective of an unpaid carer.

Here is one of my latest videos on the Poem “The Journey” and also a reflection of that poem.

The poem is from a book I am working on is called “The Poetry book of mental health caring” as you can see from the cover below

The Poetry book of Mental Health Caring

I am hoping to release the book on Amazon this year, perhaps around the Autumn, but it is not just a book containing poems. The book will ask readers to reflect regarding the nature of the poem. One of the NHS trust’s I talked to felt it could be useful for training, even though a lot of focus is on unpaid carers to reflect on the nature of the poem and how it could help them.

Anyway, I am hoping to blog more of my poems soon.

The Carer’s Assessment – New poem by Matthew Mckenzie

Welcome back to another blog by former unpaid mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. I am working on my carer awareness poetry for 2022. Poetry can be great for creativity, expression and even for campaigning.

I have done around 60 poems for the book I am going to release later on this year, the poetry book will contain around 150 poems.

For this particular poem, it is about a recent download of a carers assessment and my attempt at filling it in. At first I am nervous about filling in such forms because it asks such personal and thought provoking questions. After a while, I find the form gets easier to fill in, but I query is it worth filling the form.

This poem called “The Carer’s Assessment” can be views from the video below.

There will be times carer’s can’t be bothered to fill them in because they don’t get anything out from it and its engagement to carers can just be a tick-box exercise.

It’s still advisable to fill in carers assessments since it is a good way to be recorded and identified as a carer.

My new carer book published

Welcome back to another blog by unpaid carer Matthew McKenzie. I am slowly breaking into the world of becoming an author and I am pleased to announce my 2nd book on the experience of caring is out.

The title of the book is called : Experiencing mental health caregiving – Unpaid Carers

Obviously due to my previous role caring for my mother, this 2nd book focuses on mental health carers. What I mean by that is getting views, statements and comments from those who look after someone suffering mental ill health. The book is not to be taken as an audit, but a philosophical look at experience of care, I wanted those to be philosophical on their experiences of being a carer and anything mental health related. There will be comments that stated facts or sometimes seem like a pitch, plus some comments might offend some people, but it is very important to just get the voice out there and understand why someone would comment in such a way.

I am known for my networking to carers and this was the nature of this book. I wanted the book to be a link and connection to other unpaid carers, this is so that there is some form of identity for carers and a way to relate to the experience of care. The book is very large with over 300 pages and 33 chapters. The book however was quite challenging to compile experiences, because quite a few comments brought me back to when I was a mental health carer and some things hit hard.

To research the content for my book, I had to approach many mental health trusts and carer centres to promote my project and I thank those that have contributed.

Many thanks to CNWL, West London Health trust, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust for their lovely newsletter, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and many other mental health trusts allowing me to present about my project.

I also approach universities especially those who taught psychiatry, psychology or those who led on social care courses. I wanted their opinions as well, because if you want nurses, social workers, doctors and psychiatrists to work well with carers, you have to start where they are being taught their profession. I did want to include contacts from large organisations, but it was too difficult, although I do hope they support and promote the book. If anything is going to bring changes to the experience of care, it needs to be the voices of carers being amplified.

Next year, I certainly want to expand on the chapters I wrote in this book especially regarding the views given by those who contributed, however before I undertake my next project. I want to try my hand at poetry.

Hope you enjoy my latest work.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2020

Welcome to another blog post by Matthew Mckenzie former carer and expert by experience in caring for someone with a severe mental illness. I know it is a bit late, but on the 10th of September 2020 it was World Suicide Prevention day.

Suicide Prevention is so important that awareness of it should be raised at any time. I even made a video to help raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Usually I raise awareness of carers, specifically carers who care for someone with a mental illness, but every so often I do want to raise awareness of mental health. The causes of suicides are an important issue because it certainly does involve mental health.

World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to start the conversation about suicide and to show that recovery is possible.

There are many charities and organisations promoting world prevention suicide day. The theme for World Suicide Prevention day is of ‘connection’ and ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide.’ The awareness campaign is organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

With World Suicide Prevention day it is especially relevant because Covid-19 has affected us all in different ways and brought new or increased challenges. Many people have lost so much, be it homes, loved ones and that form of connection to society and to the world.

Having a strong sense of connection is an important part of suicide prevention. We all can form a connection with friends and family, as family is so important when caring for someone.

But still, Why is World Suicide Prevention day needed? Unfortunately 800,000 people take their own life each year. Despite the terrible statistics, one life taken is always a tragedy. There is still a lot of work for the government, health organisations and society to do. Families and carers looking after someone who may suffer from suicidal thoughts can be devastated when they loose someone to this.

Reaching out

It is often helpful for people to have an honest communication about mental ill-health support. Having such conversations have the power to increase awareness and helps to break the stigma of mental health . It is always important to remind people are not alone.

If suffering from suicide thoughts it is good to let family or trusted friends know what’s going on for you. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.

Making that difference

Silhouette of man showing his hand on sunset sky background, Successful business concept.Welcome to a blog site of former carer Matthew McKenzie from South London. I used to care for my mother who passed away this year. For close to 18 years I have been supporting her and my brothers who both have autism, but for my mother she had a difficult time with mental health. There was only so much I could do and a lot of support depended on health and social care services that were already struggling.

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Southwark MH Carers forum April 2020

matthewWelcome to the April update of the Southwark Mental Health Carers forum. Just a short intro about the forum. The forum is aimed at carers who care for someone with a mental illness. I obviously try to aim the forum at carers based in Southwark, but we often ask for engagement with MH, health services, commissioners and social services.

All my carer forums including carer peer support groups are run via Zoom due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Recommended Carer books

10 Helpful Hints for Carers: Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia – June Andrews, Allan House

A Carer's Chaos - Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers is an easy-to-read guide for carers living with people with dementia. It provides simple, practical solutions to the everyday problems family carers can face when looking after a person with dementia.

A Carer’s Chaos – Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia

When Julie Wiltshire’s husband, David, was diagnosed with cancer twice, he faced a series of treatments made all the more difficult by multiple complications. In A Carer’s Chaos, Julie records the details of David’s long journey of cancer treatment, but also offers a unique perspective into life as a carer to a loved one, exploring the love, hate, anger, loneliness and fear experienced on a daily basis by a carer.

A Carer’s Odyssey – Anna Chan

A Carer's Odyssey - Anna Chan

In the first part of A Carer’s Odyssey, Anna Chan describes how she and her husband Jeff were devastated 16 years ago by the diagnosis of their daughter Emma’s severe neurological disorder, called Rett Syndrome.

A Gift for Carers – William Long

A Gift for Carers - William Long

This book was written following the author’s personal struggle with the psychological and physical pressures of caring for his mum. His experiences and research led him to develop a solution which counters the devastating effects of what the medical world refers to as “Caregiver Syndrome.” He identifies seven areas that make for a joyful life.

A Gradual Disappearance – Elizabeth Lonseth

A Gradual Disappearance - Elizabeth Lonseth

“Dementia is like a maze. Its victims get lost in the labyrinth of their own minds, bringing confusion and despair to themselves and to others around them. Families watch helplessly as their loved ones drift further and further away from reality, and when decisions are made, emotions often get in the way of what is really necessary.” – Dr. Sameh Elsanadi, MD Geriatric Psychiatrist

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers – Tony Frais

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers

Looking after a person with depression can often leave carers emotionally and physically exhausted. This short, straightforward and easily understandable guide offers valuable advice on how carers can

BMA Carer’s Manual – British Medical Association

BMA Carer's Manual

Endorsed by the British Medical Association, this is the definitive guide to caring for the elderly or sick, offering practical advice and solutions for everyday concerns such as adapting living space and safe movement and handling. Step-by-step sequences explain essential activities such as helping someone in and out of a chair and special features focus on topics relating to common conditions.

Carer’s Bible – Amanda Waring

Carer's Bible

This accessible and detailed guide includes practical tips, checklists for best practice, descriptions of their experience from a wide range of carers that addresses solutions to common problems, and expert advice on how to deliver compassionate and dignified care to older people.

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder – Jenny Langley, Janet Treasure, Gill Todd

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Skills-Based Training Manual provides a framework for carer skills workshops which can be used by anyone working with these conditions.

Confidence to Care: A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer’s Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home – Molly Carpenter

Confidence to Care A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer's Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home

Confidence to Care is the essential handbook for the family caregiver offering practical insights to understanding, managing and preventing the behavioral symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Touching, personal stories come together with practical and easy-to-access tips and techniques drawn from decades of caregiving experience by internationally-recognized experts.

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities – Geraldine Holt, Anastasia Gratsa, Nick Bouras

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities

A practical and comprehensive introduction for carers to mental health problems, this accessible guide outlines a range of signs and symptoms of mental health problems that can affect people with intellectual disabilities. The guide explains why mental health problems develop, and advises on what can be done to help people with intellectual disabilities and carers themselves.

Living with Dying: A Complete Guide for Caregivers – Jahnna Beecham, Katie Ortlip

Living with Dying A Complete Guide for Caregivers

  • This easy-to-use guide for caregiving instructs you how to:
  • Have the conversation
  • Navigate the emotional and spiritual journey
  • Control pain
  • Address symptoms
  • Work with hospice
  • Care for yourself
  • Get your loved one’s affairs in order

Mindfulness for Carers: How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself – Cheryl Rezek

Mindfulness for Carers How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself

Carers are particularly vulnerable to feeling stressed, worried and worn down by the vast demands that often come with caregiving, be they physical, psychological or emotional. Mindfulness can be enormously beneficial to carers, whether professional or voluntary, as a means of developing greater inner stability, resilience and gaining more control over their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days – Susan Allen Toth

No Saints Around Here A Caregiver's Days

When we promise “in sickness and in health,” it may be a mercy that we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Forcing food on an increasingly recalcitrant spouse. Brushing his teeth. Watching someone you love more than ever slip away day by day. As her husband James’s Parkinson’s disease with eventual dementia began to progress, writer Susan Allen Toth decides she intensely wants to keep her husband at home—the home he designed and loved and lived in for a quarter century—until the end.

Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach – Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen

Self-Care for Caregivers A Twelve Step Approach

For those serving as a caregiver for a loved one, the authors of this down-to-earth, encouraging book can help you make the most of the experience without losing yourself in the process.

Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective – Mary E. Braine, Julie Wray

Supporting Families and Carers A Nursing Perspective

Understanding the perspective of carers is an essential aspect of nursing. Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective offers insights into the fundamental principles of caring for families and carers irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religion.

Take Care, Son: The Story of My Dad and his Dementia – Tony Husband

Take Care, Son The Story of My Dad and his Dementia

Hi Dad . . . can we have a chat about your dementia . . . Can you remember how it started?
When Ron Husband started to forget things – dates, names, appointments . . . daft things, important things – it took a while to realise that this was ‘a different form of forgetting’. But it was just the first sign of the illness that gradually took him away from the family he loved.

The Carer’s Handbook: Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role – Jane Matthews

The Carer's Handbook Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role

This indispensable guide aims to be a one-stop-shop for the huge percentage of the population who, now or later, find themselves in a caring role, whether that involves shopping for a housebound neighbour, or giving up work to care full-time for a disabled child or confused parent.

The Complete Carer’s Guide – Bridget McCall

The Complete Carer's Guide

There are around six million carers in the UK, a figure estimated to reach nine million by 3037. Being a carer can be rewarding, but it is often stressful and exhausting: it involves a range of tasks, such as providing personal care, managing medication and ensuring that the needs of the person being cared for are met. This practical, much needed guide discusses how to ensure that you have a life of your own while caring, how to make informed decisions and, most importantly, how to access the support and help you need.

The Essential Carer’s Guide – Mary Jordan

The Essential Carer_s Guide

Illustrated with individual case stories, this book covers physical, social, and financial needs, across the stages of immediate, intermediate and advanced care. It is useful as a practical companion for those caring for, or responsible for the care of, an elderly friend or relative.
The Selfish Pigs guide to caring – Hugh Marriot

The Selfish Pigs guide to caring

Over six million people in the UK…provide unpaid care for disabled or elderly relatives, friends or neighbours. Their job is long, lonely and hard, yet there is limited support and no formal training. As a result, carers suffer frequent damage to physical and mental health. Oddly, though carers by definition are anything but selfish pigs, they are liable to feelings of guilt, probably brought on by fatigue and isolation.

Where There is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual – Vikram Patel

Where There is No Psychiatrist A Mental Health Care Manual

Even though mental illnesses are common and cause great suffering in every part of the world, many health workers have a limited understanding about mental health and are less comfortable dealing with mental illness. This book is a practical manual for mental health care for the community health worker, the primary care nurse, the social worker and the primary care doctor, particularly in developing countries.

Young Carers and their Families: Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families – Saul Becker, Jo Aldridge, Chris Dearden

Young Carers and their Families Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families

Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 who provide care for an ill or disabled parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home. They perform many of the same domestic, caring and other duties as adult carers but often without the recognition and support received by many adult carers.

Living with someone with a mental health illness

What is it like to live with someone suffering from a mental illness? I felt it was about time to do a quick write up about the situation.  This time I decided to collaborate with someone living through a mental illness in order to get their views.

The collaboration was from an experience mental health survivor Jessica Temple who has her own YouTube Channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/jtemple1979/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0

We both did a video where I talk about my role as a carer and Jessica who is from the States talks about her experience as a Care Taker.

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The importance of Carer Centres

HouseHi everyone. Welcome to another one of my carer videos. Although my videos are mainly there to raise awareness of mental health and mental health carers, I hope all who view them find such videos educational. As a note, a carer is someone unpaid who is caring for a relative, friend or neighbour. Carers usually care for someone who is unable to care for themselves and they do not have to suffer old age difficulties.

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