Who is a ‘Carer’?
People who give a substantial amount of time and energy to supporting someone who cannot manage alone and are unpaid, (except maybe for carer benefits) are usually called ‘carers’. These are not to be confused with paid support workers often called ‘careworkers’ and are usually family,partners or friends.
The information on this site is taken from our free booklet and is hopefully going to be helpful to anyone caring for a person with mental ill health.
There is no right or wrong way to use it, whatever you decide this will not in itself create any magical answers but it may hopefully help to improve your life as a carer. The information comes from other people in similar situations and therefore may be useful from time to time and help to support you when your patience and perseverance are under pressure!
The term ‘M.H. problem’ will be used throughout as it covers such a wide range of issues.
The information does not cover Alzheimer’s/Dementia or other organic conditions or brain injury; although there is a great deal of common ground the services and treatments are substantially different. Neither does it deal specifically with the Autistic Spectrum, eating disorders or A.D.H.D which again have some common features but need a specialist viewpoint.
Most of the information has been taken from sources which have been written by carers in an attempt to gather useful information in one place, and is both for people new to caring and those who have been doing it for a while. There are also a few quotations from local people (in blue) who have found themselves trying to help a family member or partner through the ‘journey’ that begins when someone has a M.H. problem. One thing that is clear is that the family and friends who are offering help have to go through their own ‘journey’ too.
Stopping and thinking about your situation, or reading through this information can appear daunting. It is necessary to consider the worst possible situations and prepare for them but many of the issues mentioned will not be relevant as we have tried to cover a variety of difficulties a carer may face. Carers may feel alone but they are not, there are many people who are facing similar situations, far more than you would think. Although it is hard to acknowledge it the crucial message is that looking after yourself is not a luxury, it is a necessity despite all the pressure to leave this to the last priority on the list.