Why I am supporting Putting carers on the Map

‘Listen to those that provide the care…’

Matthew Mckenzie a Carer activist and author of 5 books including Experiences of Mental Health unpaid caring and The Poetry book of mental health caring, writes about the importance of Carers Week 2024.

Carers Week 2024 will soon be here. Due to my lived experience of unpaid care and campaigning for better support for carers, I fully support the theme for Carers week 2024, “Putting carers on the map”. Too many carers go unnoticed in the community. Too many carers just cope with what they are dealt with. It is understandable that a lot of focus is on the cared for, but it should not come at the expense of unpaid carers.

Far too often families, friends and carers can remain behind the scene carrying out their duties. It can be so easy to be lost in the system because you want to see the best for the person you care for.

I agree that it is important to listen to the professionals who do so much for health and social care, but we need to listen to those that provide care. Carers themselves should not wait to be heard, it unfortunately is not enough to provide care. You must be seen to interact with services to make a difference. Carers must also look after their own mental health and physical wellbeing, nothing should be left to chance.

It is time to put carers on the map. It is time for carers to be seen and heard for Carers Week 2024. To sum up the week, I have included the poem below.

Poem Number 56 – Resilience

As a leaf we grow resilient
Ever stronger we grow as we develop
Keep moving and growing
Flowing with the wind

We tumble down, but never give up
Keep climbing unwavering up and up
Never stop and keep that resilience.

Matthew’s story was broadcasted on Friday 7 June on London Live Evening News at 6pm to help launch Carers Week. Matthew talks about caring lived experience regarding his late mother, supporting his brothers, the impact of caring and his carer activism with poetry. Watch it here 

South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) will be launching its Family and Carer poetry book, which was created at the Trust’s Family & Carers Listening event last year, at a Morning Tea at the Ortus Centre on Friday 14 June, 10am – 12.30pm. Contact: chikaodili.obi@slam.nhs.uk

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