Through the eyes of a carer for someone with a mental illness



Dear Mental health professionals

As a carer of someone with a mental illness I am often the person who gets to see a lot of what happens from both points of view, I see yours and I see that of the person I care for but my voice is often lost or I feel not listened to. I understand that you are often over stretched, underpaid, tired, carrying your own problems, have pressures and constraints from higher up and while I find it really sad and I wish it was changed none of it even crosses my mind at 4 o’clock in the morning when I have four sleeping children and my partner, who I care for in complete crisis and lack of services outside ‘normal hours’ means I somehow have to make it to 9 o’clock to seek any help.

You see for me, I don’t get any let up, I cannot go home at the end of my day or shift and sit down and relax, fall asleep knowing that I don’t have to think about any of it until the next day because I have to live with it, even when Chris is in hospital, the problems don’t just vanish because this is my life. I often feel, sadly by some of you that you take me for granted, that I am the first person you will blame when Chris isn’t well, be it because I didn’t lock up his medication, I fell asleep and he left the house or any other number of other factors. Yet I am the last person a lot of you listen to or even think to speak with, I sometimes feel forgotten until you next need someone to shoulder the blame or responsibility. I just want you to work with me, I am there to help you because I love the person I care for very much, I have eight years worth of understanding, please don’t talk to me like I don’t know him at all. While I don’t hold the qualifications you do, while I am not even considered to be employed and I often tackle the daily stigma around all of this, I know more about him than you likely ever will, because it is me who has been his constant for so long.

Despite all this there have been a few of you who have been nothing but supportive, understanding and have done anything you can to make things feel a little easier, I just feel so sad that the number is so small. For me it isn’t about doing things that are huge, it is such small things that can make such a difference to people like me, a ‘how are you?’ or a ‘thank you’ is often all it takes to make us feel valued too. A couple of weeks ago a social worker took the time to thank me for all I had done leading up to the person I care for being detained under the mental health act. I was already finding that occasion extremely difficult and it helped to hear someone had recognised the part I had played in all this. Perhaps more of you can voice your thanks to family/friends/carers like me?

I want to thank all of you for the work you do, the time you take and the stress you all endure to help those with mental illness and distress. I hope you remember to look after your own mental wellbeing and to continue fighting the stigma that has always surrounded mental illness. I couldn’t look after the person I care for without your help, and without your help it is likely he wouldn’t be alive now, he would have left four children without a father and a piece of my heart would be forever missing so for that I am ever grateful to you.

Kind Regards,


Sarah, full time mental health carer and mum of four.


This blog was inspired by the Hashtag set up on Twitter, you can read more about this here on Storify and a blog by OT, Clarissa


Author: acarerseyes

I am a mum to four gorgeous girls, and a carer to my former partner of eight years, Chris who has a mental illness, BPD. I blog my experiences.. life is tough! We live in Greater Manchester, UK.

4 thoughts on “#dearmentalhealthprofessionals

  1. Sarah I really liked this blog it is well written and express’s truly what you go through each and every day,

    sadly no you can not leave your day behind you when everybody else clocks off for the day to go home, for you there is no reprieve or break as such because the person your caring for is your partner

    yes you are so right you probably do know Chris better than any social worker or qualified doctor ever will.

    Your role as a career goes beyond caring for just one person your a mother who cares for an entire family and you often you forget to care about yourself because come the end of the day your time is consumed by constantly caring for others.

    You are a beautiful person with a heart of pure gold. ((hugs)) to you always girl… fight the fight to be heard….never give up on shouting out to the entire world esp those in the mental health field about the stigma that goes along with bpd and mental illness alongside the lack of recognition that careers are given for doing one of if not the hardest job of all………which is providing care 27 – 7.

  2. What a superb blog! Carers are an entire group who are ignored and undervalued, who should have equal standing with the patients and the professionals! If carers felt more valued, perhaps treatments would show more successful outcomes. Kudos to you, Sarah, and please keep up the excellent, often thankless, work. I am a patient who understands the importance of your role.

  3. Sarah, I have no answers or any possible thoughts on how to improve your very unfortunate life situation. I came across this from a retweet and it is such a thought provoking blog. The emotion within the message is very clear. Good luck and keep battling.

  4. Thank you very much for your comments, they mean a lot to me and they are what helps keep me going when things are so difficult. If I have changed one professionals thoughts, or helped one carer or sufferer of mental illness feel less lonely then I am happy.

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