I have a few weird habits such as needing to finish all of my sandwiches before I can open my crisps and the need to collect every pen in the office and keep them in my bag in case I need one later. This has resulted in lots fun with colleagues including a regular monthly “Pen Amnesty” with the team manager to gain back the office supplies.
Amongst my slightly odd personality traits I am also driven, passionate and relentless, this has come in handy as I am on a mission to try to improve how professionals and mental health services support family, friends and Carers of loved ones being treated by their local mental health team.
I work for the Bristol Intensive team, a mental health crisis team supporting people during one of the most difficult and challenging times of their lives, I began to develop an interest in the needs for family members almost immediately after starting to work for the crisis team. I don’t know if this was due to my own experiences where I was a young carer for my father or the fact there was such a glaring hole. Seeing so many people feeling lost, frightened and scared and literally being ignored by professionals as all the focus was on the ‘Service User’ was a real eye opener, it was clearly obvious to me that these people who were being ignored were not only our allies enabling their loved one to remain at home but also a great resource to be exploited for information about the when, how and why their loved one became unwell in the first place.
Recently I have managed to develop a role with in my team that is all about supporting the very people we aim to work alongside to ensure home treatment is possible. I currently have four days a week where I dedicate myself to seeing carers and offering time to talk about how they are feeling and coping with everything going on, developing resources for family, friends and carers to use and finding out and informing of any carer workshop or support networks around the local area. I also run a twitter feed which is linked to this blog, this also is a great way to connect with carers and inform them of what is happening in their area. I am in the process of making changes to the local website to make services more accessible I aim to do a lot more work with developing web pages for young carers and family members, our current feedback is the website is boring (so watch this space)
I hope to use this blog to keep people posted with the things that I am doing and what improvements we are seeing in the health services that I work for, so buckle up I think its going to be a bumpy ride.