Firstly, I wish to thank my family who have stuck by me through thick and thin, whether by visiting me when I was detained in hospital or supporting me emotionally and financially. Prior to the Pandemic, when I was detained far from home they would travel the distance to see me regularly. They encouraged me and supported me and still do so.
If it hadn’t been for my family who knows where I would be today. To this day I am in regular contact with my family. Bangladeshis have large but very close knit families. I have nine siblings including six brothers and three sisters.
Having family support is a huge advantage for someone with mental health issues and nearest relatives are accorded the right to apply for discharge from a Section 2 or Section 3 although they can be overruled.
It is estimated that in the UK more than 1.5 million people care for someone with mental health issues. Because mental health is unseen the support needed can be more emotional than practical so carers often don’t see themselves as official carers. Caring for someone with mental health problems can be emotionally draining so it is important to have support of others.
As a carer you may get support from the local authority if you have eligible needs as the Care Act 2014 recognises the equal importance of supporting carers and the people they care for.
According to mentalhealth.org, carers provide invaluable support and help to their family, friends and loved ones, whether this is for physical or mental health problems. The mental health needs of carers are often neglected, despite many carers having poor mental health.
Looking after a family member with a mental health problem can have a significant impact on a carers’ own mental health. Mental health problems of carers include emotional stress, worry and depressive symptoms and, in some cases, clinical depression. 71% of carers have poor physical or mental health and 38% of young carers report having a mental health problem, yet only half report receiving additional support from a member of staff at school.
As a carer you may be overwhelmed so it is important to make time for yourself and share the responsibilities with others if possible and make time for leisure activities, your own health, relaxation and social life.
As family or carer of someone with mental health issues I believe they should be the first point of call in deciding if someone should be sectioned and hospitalised as they know the patient much more than a doctor or social worker.