We know what you’re going through and provide connection, advice and support when you’re caring for someone with mental health problems.

Jami understands that being a carer is very taxing and that when you are one, it can be hard to think about yourself and what you want, now and in the future. This is why Jami supports families and those caring for people with mental health problems, as well as the person with mental illness. A carer is anyone who is emotionally connected to a person with mental health issues, although you may not necessarily be living with them.

Jami recognises that there is still a stigma around mental health. Carers tell us that they have become very isolated because people judge them and friends stop coming round. We know it can also be hard for carers to make time for themselves. Jami’s Carer and Family Support service aims to alleviate this.

Widening our reach

Our carer-led service is supported by a team of staff and volunteers who provide one-to-one and group support in person, by phone, on video calls and WhatsApp. This means that people living abroad can access the service. However, for those carers who do want face-to-face contact, there are groups they can attend in our hubs or at Head Room café.

Jami runs a range of support groups for carers so that they can share experiences with others going through a similar experience. And for those carers who do not have access to any other support, these groups may be their only lifeline. They vary from all-male groups to those specifically for women; and from carers of people living with an eating disorder to parents of children with ADHD and autism. One of Jami’s carer peer support workers says: “Some of the groups are really powerful. People may open up about things they’ve never told anyone else before and that may have been impacting them for decades.”

Linking carers with additional support

In addition to these groups, Jami’s Carer and Family Support service also signposts carers to other services that Jami offers, including advocacy to help carers navigate the mental health care system and access health and social care services, as well as services provided by different organisations. Should a carer become unwell themselves, the team can also put them in touch with Jami’s Compeer Befriending service, which matches individuals with a volunteer to provide practical support and friendship if they are feeling lonely and isolated.

Showing empathy in our interactions

Having all been carers themselves, the Carer and Family Support team is well qualified to provide guidance and support to any person caring for someone with mental illness. As one team member explains: “The carers we see feel that we better understand them and what they’re going through because of our own caring experiences. We’re very good at listening and being empathetic. People’s stories are rarely straightforward and we’re never shocked. We’re very lucky as a team to be able to do the work we do. It’s always very meaningful.”