My journey as a carer started 16 years ago when I met Deb, my wife. Medications were keeping her illness under control so it had little impact on our life. However, 8 years ago her depression got bad, and I wanted an understanding of what was going on. Through AVIVO in the Wheatbelt, we got to know MIFWA. Through MIFWA we went for a retreat, I participated in the Building A Future (BAF) program and went on to do the facilitators course. My wife is also a facilitator for the My Recovery program.
Through the BAF program, I realised that mental illness is more prevalent than people think. I was able to understand closely the effects of mental illness in people, and develop some strategies to help myself as a carer. I am now aware that there is a need to separate the illness from the person. I have developed skills on caring about myself before I get exhausted in my caring role.
Interacting with other carers, I noticed that there are a lot of things people (including carers) do not know about mental illness. MIFWA’s programs helps to empower people with knowledge on mental illness, give them hope, realise that they are not alone in their struggles, meet some other people (peers) who also have been through it and carers and consumers to develop strategies in order to be in control of their day to day living. I recommend carers and consumers try MIFWA’s programs.