Let’s talk carers
Torps of Islington Carers Hub on unpaid care, mental health and the importance of peer support
Torps Boukens is team leader at Islington Carers Hub, which supports adults who look after partners, relatives or friends who cannot otherwise cope on their own. She explains why the re-launch of carers support group ‘Let’s Talk Carers’ is so important, and why it can make such a difference to the mental health of carers
What is Let’s Talk Carers?
Let’s Talk Carers is a monthly get together for Islington’s unpaid carers. The idea is to create a network of active carers who can help each other. Carers have a lot of expertise. They are experts in the health conditions of the person they care for. They know how to navigate the healthcare system and for many things, how to get the support that they need. They’re often used to managing sometimes difficult personalities, managing challenging family relationships but, quite often, they’re not so good at managing their own wellbeing.
Can Let’s Talk Carers help with mental health?
Unpaid carers are so often stressed out, frazzled and nearing the point of being burnt out. Let’s Talk Carers works a bit like a checklist for positive mental health, which is why we’re launching it on Great Mental Health Day.
As a carer you often live in a small world, where everything revolves around the person you care for, so something as simple as a conversation with another carer can be therapeutic. It’s comforting to know that there are others facing the same kind of problems you face – having the same daily difficulties. It also helps to get ideas about what can improve your situation from someone who has first-hand experience. Peer support like this works really well. Often carers don’t realise there is help out there. Simply finding out about what works from another carer can help reduce stress, worry and can be re-energising
What’s different about the new Let’s Talk Carers?
We’re keen for the group to be led by carers, for carers and to bring in local organisations that are part of the network of providing support for them. It’s not going to be a rigid format – to mix things up, there will be informal gatherings, too.
The world has changed since Covid and we’ve more options now. Some carers like to engage online, others like to meet in person. Some can make it one day and not another, or prefer daytime events, while others work and evening meetings are more convenient. We’re trying to be flexible, and will try some themed meetings as well. We’re really keen for carers to lead on this process, so Let’s Talk Carers evolves into a monthly group that carers find really useful.