By Margaret Maccoll
Being a carer can be a lonely, challenging and emotional job, but for the past four years United Synergies’ Mental Health Carer Support Program has made it easier for more than 70 regional carers.
Noosa Today spoke to program manager Lyn Harris and carer Narelle Ladd this week during Carers Week about the program they fear may shut when it loses funding with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the area in mid-2019.
Narelle Ladd is a nominated support person for her adult son who has a mental illness.
While he lives independently, Narelle is always there to lend a hand and provide a listening ear. Through the United Synergies she has gained information, skills and social contact with other carers.
“It’s a wonderful service for us. Just having that social outlet and meeting other carers. We don’t talk about our problems, we all know we have somebody with a mental disorder and that’s enough to know. It gives you hope and encouragement to go on.”
Narelle said she had participated in outings including equine therapy, coffee mornings and shows.
Funded by the Federal Government, the program provides carers with resources, education and social outlets.
Each carer is assigned a case manager who assists them to maintain their carer role.
Lyn said mental health needs could be quite diverse, with people experiencing wellness or sudden decline resulting in hospitalisation.
“A lot of our carers are over 55 and looking after adult child. They experience anxiety and a lot of grief and loss they need to deal with,” she said.
“We assist them on many levels. The ultimate goal is to have a care-recipient well and living an independent life.”