All About Jigsaw
JIGSAW, also known as The Worcestershire Mental Health Relative and Carer Support Group, exists to give support to those who look after others with mental illness. The group started at St Anne’s Orchard Day Hospital in Malvern over twenty years ago. When it closed eleven years ago, relatives and carers wanted to carry on meeting regularly. Since that time the group has continued to grow in strength and numbers. Susan Nichols is secretary to the group and tells us more.
What does JIGSAW do?
The group members aim to improve the resilience, emotional strength and wellbeing for carers of people with mental illness in Worcestershire. We do this through peer support and by sharing our knowledge and understanding of mental health issues. It is important for relatives and carers to feel free to express their feelings in a safe and supportive environment without the fear of being judged. In addition to the group meetings we build partnerships with other charities and community groups who are involved with carers such as Worcestershire Association of Carers. More recently we have been successful in gaining funding and we have been able to run an eight week course in Mindfulness and a workshop on Borderline Personality Disorder.
What happens at meetings?
We hire a room in Malvern and we meet once a month in the evening, meaning that relatives and carers who work can still access valuable support and advice. The meetings are free of charge and so are the tea, coffee and biscuits. Most months we have guest speakers giving information on a variety of mental health related issues and about the support services available in the community for carers. There are also open meetings where we chat and discuss plans for the future.
Longstanding members provide friendship, mutual understanding and emotional support to new members who are often feeling desperate, helpless and isolated. These experienced members are able to signpost relatives and carers helping them to navigate their way through the ever changing mental health system in order to access the most appropriate services to meet their needs and those they care for.
Who do you help?
The group is open to anyone who is supporting an adult with a mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or personality disorder. People currently attend from all over the county. We are hoping that we may be able to set up additional groups in the north of the county.
If you would like to find out more about JIGSAW you can call 07503 601737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There’s also a website: www.worcestermhs.org.uk