Now as a mother and carer I feel guilty that I was unable to keep my promise. She has schizophrenia, and there is so little I can do for her. My daughter has been in and out of hospital three times over the period of five years. For the first time since those five years she has been out hospital for over a year and she is relatively stable. This would have been impossible without the BME mental health group for young people, which she attended.
Over the past year my daughter and I have accessed our local BME services. The carers group allowed me to share my experience with other carers from BME backgrounds and not feel so isolated. For my daughter it was an opportunity to feel part of a community again and build her self confidence again after years of being institutionalised.
While she was attending the BME mental health group, I noticed that there was a change in behaviour and energy levels. She was no longer sleeping throughout the day; she was making choices about her medication and planning for her future. She still has her bad days, but I did see an improvement. However, since the group closed down due to cut in funding, I see her with-drawing again.
As I see her retreating again, I feel worried. I’m always trying to find ways to bring back that drive in her. As her mother and carer, I know I won’t have the same impact as peers. I also know she won’t feel comfortable talking to me.
Many people will argue that it’s just one group, why can’t she go to another one. Well, this group was local for us and travelling to another group in another borough means spending money that we don’t really have to spend. This group was a life line for my daughter to give her the confidence to look to the future. To believe there was a future for her.
The group required such little funding, but had such a huge impact. I feel sad, because I feel that the state has relinquished its responsibility to offer services for my daughter and all the other young people that used the group. I feel worried that my daughter will end up in hospital again.