In the spotlight: Andrew and Emily, a Carers’ Story  

 

Andrew and Emily care for their son, Brian, who struggles with anxiety and depression, including suicidal thoughts. His mental health difficulties started during his teenage years and these anxieties worsened during his time at university. After university, Brian struggled to maintain relationships, he moved from job to job, and experienced periods of extremely low mood. During lockdown his mental health deteriorated and this was exasperated after he lost his job.  
 
Andrew and Emily came to our service very open about their lack of understanding of mental health problems and how best to support their son. They struggled with managing his frequent outbursts and his decision not to involve them in his care. They further struggled with knowing what to do in a crisis. They recognised the emotional and physical toll their caring role was having on them and wanted to explore the options for how they could best mitigate this impact.   
 
After listening carefully to Andrew and Emily’s story, our Carers in Mind team helped them design a support plan that placed their wellbeing at its heart. We worked with them to give them the tools to implement boundaries and manage Brian’s periods of ill health; they attended our Coping with Caring workshops covering how to manage challenging behaviour and what to do in a crisis; and they attended a peer support group to connect with other carers going through similar experiences. 
 
Both Andrew and Emily had positive outcomes after engaging with our services. Their openness to recognising that they had little experience of mental health problems allowed us to have honest conversations about many issues, including language around mental health.  
 
At the end of one of our sessions, Emily said: “I used to say he was lazy…but after our session I realise now I shouldn’t say that”.  
 
Andrew said: “Since putting in boundaries as you suggested…I have felt better within myself and less overwhelmed”.