Tina cares for her son who suffers from mental health problems and she is also working as a carer for people with mental health problems at an Asian community centre.
Tina is in her 60s and lives in London. She is a carer for her son who suffers from mental health problems and she is also working as a carer for people with mental health problems at an Asian community centre. Originally from India herself, she welcomed the opportunity to serve her own community.
Tina thinks that the health service makes it too easy for patients to avoid taking medication which could make them better. To address this she thinks carers should be more involved so that they can make decisions when the patient may be unable to. However, this can only be done if carers are involved and included in the process. Tina has experienced being excluded from some discussions and given limited information, yet she has been expected to sign papers related to medication or sectioning. On one occasion she was excluded because she wanted to bring along her daughter who would be able to translate medical terms. As a result, her son and the consultant had met without her.
In her work, Tina says it is important to be extra patient when interacting with people with mental health problems. They need to be shown sympathy and support, and it is important to address them in a calm and understanding way. She has experienced that when she does this, they open up to her and she can help them better. She has several times followed a woman at the community centre to the local hospital to get her injections, and Tina says without her gentle approach this woman wouldn’t have received her medicine.
Tina thinks that many people have unrealistic views of mental health problems, which sometimes leads them to behave inappropriately towards people with such problems. She believes that with the right medical care, which should involve the family and carers, people can get well. Without the involvement of carers, however, people may lose out on chances of getting better.