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    Welcome to the brand new TSR Supporters Society

    This thread is for anyone that supports or cares for a close friend, partner or family member with a health condition or disability. Whether you’re the main carer or not this can have a huge impact on family life and life in general, as well as what opportunities you feel you have. In here you can come for a moan, share stories, ask advice or generally talk to other people who’ve been or still are in a similar situation to you. Whilst the information below is mostly aimed at carers in the traditional sense of the word, anyone is welcome and hopefully some will be relevant to other supporters too!

    The most common reason for carers not getting the right support is people not believing they count or what they do is just their responsibility- this is not true and there will always be something out there that could make life easier. If you're not sure for either you or someone you know read below or have a look online. Feel free to ask questions too!

    What is a carer?
    According to the Carers Trust a carer is someone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction cannot cope without their support. These can be from any age or any background. For the purposes of this thread it can be used slightly more loosely than that and extend to the families of those carers, or anyone else looking for support on anything like this.

    What support might I be able to get?
    Supporting others to any extent can have a huge impact on almost every area of life, from relationships to health, work or study to money and personal or family finances. A summary of the support you might be able to access is below:
    • Local services. You should be able to find information about these from your GP surgery or online but these can be invaluable to people. They can provide training, advice, social activities and emotional support for both you and the person you care for, and allow you to talk to other people in similar positions. There are also various organisations which help young carers specifically, including helping them to take a break and providing whole family support. This site can be used to find services in your area.
    • Charities. The main two in the UK are Carers Trust and Carers UK. There's loads of more localised ones and specific to ages and disabilities so have a google and see what you can find.
    • Carers assessments look at how people's caring affects them and what their physical, mental and emotional needs are. They can then be used to suggest any support that is necessary or could help them. These vary area to area but usually the care given needs to be 'substantial and regular', this may change in the future though. More information can be found here.
    • Benefits advice can be found both from carers services and from benefit advice ones, as well as online and via organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
    • Advocates can be good where there are disagreements between support services and the people receiving support, or between the carer and person they care for. These can be particularly helpful where the carer is too young or there are other barriers to them and their families receiving the correct support.
    • Your GP. Really, you can see these about anything, and the nurses and other professionals at your surgery too. The surgery as a whole keeps a list of carers there but don't worry about this- they're really good for signposting you to support or giving information.
    • Here! See below for links to some online forums for carers but just talking to anyone can help, about what you're going through or anyone else. This thread is a good starting point!

    Can my school or university help me?
    It varies a lot but most places should be willing to do something to help you cope. Whatever level you're at there should be a welfare officer or similar that looks after students' personal needs, schools and colleges increasingly have counsellors and other people on site too. At uni there's likely to be more support services of various descriptions so if you explain your situation there should be a fair bit they can do. Even if it's just being able to extend the occasional deadline where you need, knowing you have this option if things go pear shaped can be a huge help. Some places have societies for carers that you can get involved in to meet people- if there isn't yet there's nothing to stop you from making your own!

    There's advice if you're moving away from home for the first time here and from 2018 there is also going to be an option on UCAS application forms for identifying yourself as a carer so hopefully after this there will be even more happening. Have a chat to people on here but supporting someone else shouldn't mean you can't go into further or higher education at all- where there's a will there's a way

    How do I balance my own life with my caring responsibilities?
    This can be difficult. The most important thing to remember is that without your health you can't do anything, so this has to come first. Young carers projects can be particularly good if you're under 18- a map of some of these can be found here. There are some adult equivalents and also support groups for families of people with different conditions, some of which can provide days out and respite care. Have a look! A carers assessment can help work out how to best manage things (see above) and this guide also has some good information and links to things that might help. It is based on work but a lot can be applied to education too. Carers Trust have a relationships guide as well as their general health and wellbeing one which is definitely worth a look!

    Remember that the more people who know you're caring for someone else, the more support you can potentially get. Telling people can be hard and it doesn't mean bringing it up in every conversation but help can be found in strange places! However it may feel, you're not alone and there are always people willing to help, even just as a listening ear.

    Where can I talk about what's going on?
    There’s loads of places! In addition to the services above, Carers Trust run the online forum Matter for 16-25 year olds and Babble for under 18s. They also have a general one for everyone and Carers UK do as well. If you're struggling more generally there’s also the Samaritans, Childline and Nightline which have email and instant messaging services in addition to the more traditional helpline. There's always this thread too!


    If there's anything anyone would like adding to or linking from here let me know! Please note you can post anonymously in this thread
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    :bump:

    This is so brilliant and will help so many people!
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    Great thread! I currently care part-time for my younger brother with mental health issues, although it used to be full time. It'll be interesting to hear other people's experiences! I've never met someone else with similar responsibilities before
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    (Original post by chelseadagg3r)
    Great thread! I currently care part-time for my younger brother with mental health issues, although it used to be full time. It'll be interesting to hear other people's experiences! I've never met someone else with similar responsibilities before
    Yeah, hopefully we'll get some good replies! Having people to talk to who've been in similar situations can make a huge difference, or just anyone at all really. What do you think has helped you most to cope with caring for your brother?
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    (Original post by furryface12)
    Yeah, hopefully we'll get some good replies! Having people to talk to who've been in similar situations can make a huge difference, or just anyone at all really. What do you think has helped you most to cope with caring for your brother?
    Understanding from college has been really important. I didn't get any help at school, but college are very understanding that sometimes I just can't get as much done as I'd like. They'll extend deadlines for me, and I have access to a counselling service as well
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    (Original post by chelseadagg3r)
    Understanding from college has been really important. I didn't get any help at school, but college are very understanding that sometimes I just can't get as much done as I'd like. They'll extend deadlines for me, and I have access to a counselling service as well
    Yeah that can make a huge difference. In general colleges and unis are beginning to become a bit more understanding and accommodating of different health issues as awareness is raised (although you and I both know this doesn't always happen!) but I do feel like carers kind of fall through the cracks a lot of the time and financially an even bigger sense. Glad yours have been so good with it!
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    (Original post by furryface12)
    Yeah that can make a huge difference. In general colleges and unis are beginning to become a bit more understanding and accommodating of different health issues as awareness is raised (although you and I both know this doesn't always happen!) but I do feel like carers kind of fall through the cracks a lot of the time and financially an even bigger sense. Glad yours have been so good with it!
    Yeah, definitely. I think my experience has kind of been the opposite of a lot of people's in a sense, because I get no financial support or help from the local authority whereas college are understanding, and it's the other way around for a lot of people. Social services etc kept offering me really great things, but it all fell through every time so I've never seen any of it
 
 
 
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