an annual campaign to raise awareness of the challenges unpaid carers face
In the UK alone, 1.5m people care for someone with mental illness.
The often-invisible nature of mental illness, and the fact that carers may not be helping with physical tasks, often means such carers, and those around them, don’t class what they do as ‘care’. But their role is just as valid, and deserving of support, as someone who cares for a physically disabled person.
Providing emotional support, helping them in day-to-day tasks, and advocating for them, especially when their mental illness means they might not be able to show their gratitude or love, can be draining and all-consuming.
That’s especially true when other support networks are scarce – the responsibility for the safety and happiness of someone with mental illness is a huge burden for one person to bear.
This year’s Carers’ Week theme is ‘making caring visible, valued, and supported’.
We want to highlight that caring for someone with mental illness IS a real and valuable form of care.
But most importantly we want to make sure that support is there for carers when they need it.
A testimony from Kate, who cares for her husband with bipolar disorder, shows how under-resourced mental health services mean that the burden of care can fall entirely on the friends and family of the mentally ill, leaving them overwhelmed and meaning the person with mental illness may not get the professional help they need.
“We saw it coming. He kept asking for help but kept slipping through the cracks of a broken and overstretched mental health trust. As he sank deeper into life-changing despair, I fought his corner for him. Soon I was fighting to keep him going.” – Quoted from Mind
That’s why, in part, our founder Louise set up Hammersley Homes. Our outreach services allow carers a break from the time commitment of caring and the emotional strain of feeling responsible for another person’s safety and happiness.
Our ultimate goal, providing supported housing for life, will free carers from fear for their loved one’s well-being if they are no longer able to look after them.
Here’s what a parent of one of our outreach clients had to say: “I am so pleased that Hammersley Homes Outreach Support is providing my son with some much-needed company and social contact. Over the past couple of years, he has become almost completely isolated relying entirely on support from me which is not easy now that I am getting older. […] He looks forward to their visits and phone calls and it gives me a short but welcome break.”
This Carers Week, help us guarantee security for people with mental illness – and relief for their carers – by supporting our work at Hammersley Homes.