By Danielle Kutchel
Caring for a loved one with mental illness can take a toll on carers – but a new support group in the City of Casey aims to provide a relaxing environment for carers to take some much-needed time for themselves.
Care for Carers will hold its first meeting on Friday June 21st from 9:30 til 11:30, and will meet on the third Friday of every month from then on. The meetings are free to attend.
The idea for the support group came about when co-founders Maria Pintaudi and Jade Fraser, who both have lived experience of caring for a loved one with mental illness, realised there was no support group for people like them in the area.
Deciding to fill the gap themselves, the pair gained support from the council and have hired a room at the Berwick Social Support Centre, 110 High Street, Berwick, behind the Masonic Hall. Anyone who cares for a loved one with mental illness and who feels they need to come along is able to attend.
“It’s important for carers to take time for themselves,” Ms Pintaudi said.
“It’s also helpful to find you’re not isolated in your experiences as a carer. I felt so distraught, and so tied up in my duties that I became exhausted with it … which wasn’t good for my own mental health.
“It would’ve been nice to speak with people going through the same thing and have time to relax and care for myself.”
Visitors will be able to have a coffee or tea, share experiences with each other and learn from one another in a supportive environment.
There will be speakers on occasion, including psychologists and others who can provide assistance to carers.
The first meeting will feature Rachel Clarke, a local yoga teacher who is also a youth project officer at Windermere who will speak to attendees about self-care and relaxation.
Ms Pintaudi, who has been a mental health first aid instructor for the past year, will also have some resources from Beyond Blue which she will provide to those who feel they need it.
The co-founders also invite interested people to form a committee to help raise funds for the support group, which is currently self-funded.
Anyone interested in attending is asked to call Ms Fraser on 0412991564 or Ms Pintaudi on 0409180673.