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The importance of 'Self Care for Carers'

Solent Mind is marking Carers Rights Day by reminding carers of the importance of their own self care, as Jamie tells his story.

Content Warning: The following article contains references to suicidal thoughts.

With today marking Carers Rights Day (November 25), Solent Mind is here to highlight the importance of self care for those who spend so much of their time being there for others.

On Tuesday December 7, iTalk are running a free class teaching carers practical ways of looking after themselves, when looking after a loved one.

Leah Callaghan, one of the leaders on the ‘Self Care for Carers’ course, said: “We know that a carers life can be very busy with many demands and we do not want to tell them to stop caring for others but look for a way they can make that more sustainable.”

Research and conversations with carers in the crafting of this course found that they can often feel:

“Firstly lets normalise that we feel this way; talk to other carers, friends and family about how it feels to be a carer,” Leah explains: “We are only human.”

Jamie Dippie, who was thrown into a position of care from a young age: “I was first told about my mum’s mental health by her doctor, who opened up with ‘Do you know that your mum wants to kill herself?’

“The next day my mum was sectioned. This was a difficult time for me because I suddenly became an adult very quickly. From being looked after and decisions being made for me, I was forced into making these decisions which would have a detrimental effect on those around me.”

Now the Children, Young People and Families Lead with Solent Mind, Jamie uses his experiences in decisions he makes in his current role; But explains how at the time he had lost sight on looking after his own wellbeing.

“I had no time to process what was happening and at the time I felt like I lost a part of my belonging, I became very low and struggled to consider where I would end up. I made very rash decisions without considering the consequences of these actions

“I felt this was a pivotal moment within my life and looking back, if I had been given the opportunity to have time to look at how I could have taken care of my own mental wellbeing then maybe I wouldn’t have felt such pressure and my pathway into adulthood maybe would have been less obscure.”

As part of the ‘Self Care for Carers’ course, Leah advices the following tips for carers:

If this course sounds like it could be beneficial for you, or someone you know, click here for more information and how to sign up: https://www.italk.org.uk/how-we-help/wellbeing-classes/

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