“People need to listen to carers. You might hear me, but that doesn’t mean you’re listening.”
Ann, 76, helps to care for her grandson, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder aged 18. He was an inpatient at Highbury Hospital following four admissions within six years.
“Being a carer has taken over my life quite a lot. I’ve not had the relaxing retirement I planned!
When he isn’t in hospital, Ann’s grandson has a flat of his own. “His mum works full-time as a special needs teaching assistant, so I support him at home if he needs me.
“It can be tiring – there are hospital appointments, reviews. A lot of life is governed by visiting.
“But we have a very good relationship. We enjoy walking together. We go to the cinema and he visits church with me when he can. We volunteer at the Trust together as well; the Involvement Centre has been a tremendous support to us both.
“I want proper care in the community for service users and their carers. I’d also like to see an increase in funding for mental health services, rather than a reduction.
“Carers have to have a voice – and be listened to.”