Shelley tells her story of how mental illness affected her family and her as a carer
“Tessa had mental health concerns throughout her teenage life and when she was finally diagnosed at 19 it was a relief. The words would come up such as that she’s putting it on, she could change, she’s being naughty. Especially when they’re a teenager, its looked at their behaviour not the cause of the behaviour.
People did not understand what she was going through and therefore what I was going through.
I was fearful for her and then fearful for ourselves as to what that meant to our family unit and I became a carer. The impact has been on many levels but primarily just my role as Tessa’s carer, as well as her mother. There’s sometimes a clash between being a parent and being a carer. HelpingMinds has helped me in that I feel like there’s progression forward. This organisation is there for the carer and the carer can be a very isolated person, they can be ignored, they have so much information, they’re really the person who knows what works.
HelpingMinds empowers people to be recognised for an actual role that literally could have a job description.
In the last 12 months Tess and I have really moved forward. Tessa’s doing a lot better on her medication and because of that she’s been able to return to some study, which has really helped her confidence. Getting those skills you can get out of your mind and actually just get on with living it and accepting the person your caring for as they are and doing the best you can each day. HelpingMinds means to me that I am actually part of the process, I’m part of the relationship, I actually do have a role. It’s very important in Tessa’s recovery. HelpingMinds recognises that and supports that role.”