It is a well know fact that family members trying to cope with a loved one struggling with any type of mental disorders will have to grapple with a whole range of powerful and often unpleasant emotions that leaves them mentally and physically exhausted.
Like schizophrenia, Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) is a difficult illness to manage and just like anxiety disorders, caregivers will have sleepless nights worrying about their charges. There have been cases when OCD suffers cause serious health problems not just for their caregivers, but to the neighbours as well. Then, because they feel unclean, they will waste water and wash themselves repeatedly causing the water bills to shoot sky high.
Besides anxiety disorders and OCD affecting our younger generation, depression and dementia hits the older folks and this is why it is imperative that a staunch support system be put in place.
For caregivers who are in this journey for the very first time, they will be lost in the woods; can become vulnerable into falling into depression and giving up on life or even abandoning their stricken ones.
Often, one of the best support comes from people who have walked in the shoes of caregivers. Since there is a Peer Specialist scheme already in place, why not introduce a Caregiver Specialist scheme? These are people who have proven to be resilient in lending support and motivating family members caring for loved ones with mental illness.
With clinical support from the psychiatrists, patient support from Peer Specialist and finally support from Caregiver Specialists for caregivers, the structural support for the mentally ill becomes wholesome and very holistic.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO