People who look after someone who are currently accessing Oxford Health’s adult and older adult mental health services can join one of two online groups. Both groups will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams.

Di Hilson, Oxford Health’s Carer Involvement Lead, said: “Many of our carers may be feeling alone and in need of support. These groups allow you to focus on yourself, meet new people, speak to others in similar situations and share your experiences.”

The two groups are:

Family and Carer Support Group Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire – This group focuses on people caring for someone who is affected by suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour

It takes place between 6pm – 7pm and on the third Thursday of every month which, for the coming months, is 21st January 2021, 18th February, 18th March, 15th April and 20th May.

Caring and You Support Group Oxfordshire – This group meets between 1pm – 2.30pm on the third Friday of the month which, for the coming months, is 15th January 2021, 19th February and 19th March.

One carer who took part in a session said: “The meeting was so lovely, it really reminded me that we are not alone and has helped me to remember some key things I can do to keep up my own wellbeing.”

Another said: “Being part of the support group is being around people, who I don’t have to explain to or justify to how I feel. As we are all in very similar positions everyone understands, there is no judgement about how I feel or ought to be feeling, but mutual support, understanding, helpful tips, we learn from each other.

“For that time, it takes away the sense of isolation I am so familiar with. It’s so refreshing to be part of a group where we can just be ourselves. Carers’ batteries need charging too, and the support group is a great starting point. Thank you for organising the group.”

If joining a support group or accessing an online session is something you haven’t done before and you are feeling apprehensive about it then call 07775 816646. You can also call this number for further information or alternatively email Di Hilson, Carer Involvement Lead at Diane.Hilson@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk