The Not So Simple Act of Caring

Prof. Fiona Lobban

Prof. Fiona Lobban (@fionalobban) is Professor of Clinical Psychology at Lancaster University, and Co-director of the Spectrum Centre.

She is also co-editor of “A Casebook of Family Interventions for Psychosis“, and the lead researcher in the Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit (REACT) study, to see whether an online intervention is helpful for close friends or relatives of people with bipolar disorder or psychosis.

Lizzi Collinge (@LizziCollinge) is a Labour County Councillor for Lancaster East, representing over 10,000 people, with a particular focus on health, social care, and disability equality.

Lizzi Collinge

She also works as part of the REACT research team, supporting participants to use the REACT toolkit, and has first-hand experience of caring for somebody with a severe mental health issue.

So, what does caring for somebody with severe mental health issues involve, and who typically takes on this role?

In today’s episode we discuss the emotional impact that being a carer can have, such as feelings of self blame, isolation and the threat of social stigma, and thus why carers are more susceptible to developing their own mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.

We explore how caring can alter, and sometimes destroy, the dynamics of certain relationships, the impact that caring can have on people’s social lives, the art of knowing when to step in and take control versus knowing when to step back and let go, and why communication is the key to avoiding anger and resentment.

We look at some of the costs involved in caring and how it can sometimes affect a person’s ability to work, the kind of support that already exists for carers and what needs to improve, the importance of speaking to other people with lived experience in keeping up morale, and all-in-all, why carers are ultimately the unsung heros of our mental health system.

 

Fiona’s Recommended Links

REACT – Relatives Education and Coping Toolkit

Young Carers and Getting Help – YoungMinds

Support for Young Carers – ReThink

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

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Image courtesy: Hernán Piñera

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