Welcome back to another carer blog by Matthew McKenzie
It has been a while since I did an event review. To be honest I ought to be attending a lot more events, especially things to do with mental health awareness, carer awareness or even book conferences related to my content.
Well you are just in luck, I recently was a special guest poet at the ‘Come Rhyme with me’ series of creative writting workshops. These workshops are hosted by award winning poet Michael Groce. The event was brought together by Voluntary Action Kingston.
There often can be fast paced changes in the community, some positive and some bringing changes which causes people to be isolated. Ethnic communities can often feel isolated, so it helps that there are ways to help people use their voice in ways that are powerful.
I have always found poetry to be powerful. The creative writing workshops are held in the Cambridge Estate over in the London Borough of Kingston. I found at the event all were welcomed and the community in the borough of Kingston are talented and passionate about their experiences.
You can see my poem from the video below.
If you are from the borough of Kingston, you can book on the event below.
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.
Hello visitors and those providing care or caregiving to someone close. Here is another carer awareness blog from Matthew Mckenzie, carer activist, poet and author from Lewisham.
This blog is about Carers Lewisham Hub’s culture day. Carer centres are a vital part of providing support and services for those giving unpaid care. Carers Lewisham fights hard to identify carers, advocate for them and give as much support as possible.
I often visit the carers centre for their forums and support groups. On the 28th of July 2022, since the borough of Lewisham was the borough of culture. Carers Lewisham was hosting their culture day at their carers centre. A list of activities, networking and events was provided for carers who wanted to feel valued.
We had the game room and Raffle ticket event. Massage for those who have stress, aches and pains. Creative art sessions for those wanting to be……well creative. We also had laughter workshop, book readings and also my poetry reading (more on that later.)
I think most of all, carers who came along to the event wanted to network with others. They wanted to reduce isolation and link up with carers, staff and advocate to get support, information and to feel valued.
Since my poetry book “The Poetry book of mental health caring” was released in July 2022. Carers Lewisham was kind enough to offer me a poetry workshop. It is well known that over time, poetry can contribute to forms of culture. Most if not all my poems focus on the aspect of the caring experience. The poems look to raise the awareness of those providing mental health care. That means providing unpaid care to someone suffering mental illness.
At the book reading and poetry workshop, we had other carers reading from their poems which they have developed. Tess read a wonderful poem and also Brenda.
I ran my workshop by reading a poem and then asking others to also choose a poem to read. We then reflected on the meaning and definitions of those poems. You can see the video of my poetry workshop 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.
Here are two more poems from my upcoming book “The Poetry book of mental health caring”.
The first poem focuses on wellbeing for carers who are caring for someone suffering mental illness. To be fair it does not actually have to be mental illness, but the main point is the person is thrown into becoming a carer.
The next poem is more psychological. The poem called “The Mirror” asks the carer to reflection on their identity, especially when the carer is judgemental about themselves. I certainly was very judgemental about trying to provide unpaid care and at times I still am critical.
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
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.
Welcome to my latest poem off my poetry project for 2022. My focus is on unpaid carers who look after someone suffering mental illness. Many unpaid mental health carers up and down the country sometimes get frustrated when it comes to being heard. I myself have experienced this, although do not get me wrong. There are times when those in the mental health services can actually support and listen to families, friends and carers.
It is not always the problem of not being listen to or not being heard. Many carers can be confused about what their carer’s rights are. If mental health services are under strain then there will be situations when mental health professionals will not have time for carers and will not often remind carers of their rights.
Sometimes carers are aware that there is nothing the professional can do, but they would still like to be heard on the situation, there might even be a slight chance that something mentioned from the carer can give some hope.
Feel free to check out my poem off my YouTube channel below.
Happy new year to visitors of my mental health carer blog site. As mentioned in my earlier blog posts, I am working on promoting awareness of caring for someone suffering mental ill health.
I created a number of carer poems, quite a few are on this site, but are subject to being edited as I am often fine tuning poems.
I am also adding a couple of my poems on to my YouTube platform and will blog them every so often.
The poem I want to introduce here is titled “On Alert” as it highlights the struggle unpaid carers go through in prompting medication. A lot of carers hate doing such a task, but when the experience the person’s mental health crisis, they want to try avoid the situation again and take resort to being on alert.
Watch my 2 minute poem “On Alert” off my video link below.