Our workplace wellbeing training team ran its first of a new short session to mark Young Carers Day.
To mark Young Carers Day, Solent Mind delivered their new training session with a focus on the mental health and wellbeing of carers.
'Looking after your wellbeing - a guide for carers' is a short training session which was first delivered to one of our Corporate Partners Roma Black. If you are interested in finding out more, get in contact with our workplace wellbeing training team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mandy Wiltshire, Workplace Wellbeing Training Team manager for Solent Mind, says:
"There are currently over 5 million unpaid carers in the UK, and whilst we know that caring some someone can be hugely rewarding it can also be a great challenge to our mental health and wellbeing. That’s why we’re really pleased to be launching our new short training session – ‘looking after your wellbeing – a guide for carers’."
Chloe, 29 from Portsmouth, shares her experience of being a young carer and how that has continued to affect her in adult life:
Both of my parents are disabled and have been for far longer than I have been around. Because of this, I have taken on caring roles wherever I could from an early age – I don’t really remember a time where my life was separate from the need to help my parents; with toilet issues or getting in and out of the car, and as I got older and was able to do more; that role became larger.
I think my mental health often suffered from taking on roles and responsibilities I wasn’t old enough to fully understand, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to fulfil those sometimes-self-imposed obligations. I often felt very different to my classmates and friends, no more mature than them really but convinced I was because I had different home priorities, which made it a very lonely and isolated time.
It was also sometimes difficult with strangers’ views on my family dynamic – I was a kid, and families argued, children throw the occasional strop, but because of the visual of two adults in wheelchairs, I was often chastised by other people for what they perceived to be an unfair interaction for my mum and dad so it reinforced this otherness, and belief that my needs and frustrations were secondary, something I did very much retain into my adult life.
I pride myself on being a very caring and empathetic person, which I’m sure is in a large part due to having spent a lot of my childhood around groups of people with diverse ways of experiencing the world and it’s limitations, however that is something I have had to learn to balance as with it I’ve also developed a need to people please – tying my worth to how well I am able to help other people. It’s something I struggle with a lot as I get a lot of pleasure out of helping people, but when I don’t keep myself in check that can be to my own detriment.
I want to tell any young carer in my situation or similar to ask for help, and to give themselves time to come first, your needs are not secondary even when it’s easy to feel that way when someone actively needs to rely on you.
When I was a child and teen in that situation, I wasn’t involved in any young carer initiatives, I don’t think it’s something that even occurred to my parents as a thing available. I’d want to tell any young carer feeling isolated to reach out, ask for help from the people around you, seek out young carer initiatives if you can – I knew a few people who went to the meetings who were helped hugely by them, but I always felt that asking for those sorts of things would be admitting in some way that my parents were doing something wrong, or not coping in some way. I was wrong, and needing help isn’t some admission of your parents’/caregiver’s failings – we all deserve to feel less alone and having people around you with shared experiences goes a long way to lightening that load.
Are you interested in our new training session, or want to find out more about what else we offer? Email email@example.com.
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