When you’re an informal mental health carer, your wellbeing is often the last thing on your radar, carer Malcolm Hales says.
But often the issue is much deeper than that.
Some carers did not recognise their own role, despite the responsibilities they carried in supporting a friend or family member with a mental health illness, he said.
“I didn’t identify as a carer until I was told that’s what I was,” Mr Hales said.
“If you don’t know you’re a carer, then you won’t be looking for avenues of support [from carer organisations].”
Mr Hales, who is also on the Mental Health Carers Tasmania board, has been a carer for more than 30 years.
Taking on the responsibilities of a carer meant taking on the stresses and issues the person with the mental health issues was dealing with to an extent, which put a strain on their own wellbeing, he said.
Mental Health Carers Tasmania is delivering Suicide Prevention Training and Mental Health First Aid to provide support and knowledge to informal carers, who were often family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
The programs are being delivered in the north from Dorset Community House in Scottsdale and Starting Point Neighbourhood House in Ravenswood.
“In a way, the opportunity to involve carers in this training, it fits in with with happening across all the jurisdictions in Australia,” Mr Hales said.
“There is a greater acknowledgement of mental health in the workplace and Mental Health Carers Tasmania being able to offer something like this is, no difference to a workplace recognising that mental health issues will be occurring in their employees.”
The programs provided an intervention strategy, which had been highly sought after with people being turned away from each of the programs because there had not been enough space, he said.
While more programs were on the cards, the demand and support for World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday showed mental health was an important issue for many people, Mr Hales said.
- If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue.org.au