2024 update: After 15 years it is time for this website (and its author!) to retire, and it is gradually being decommissioned, with the knowledge that funded organisations and the carer workforce have now taken on this role. Selected prints of the artwork are available direct from the artist, Helen Wilding.
This website was founded by a family caregiver in 2009.
Over the following decade families, carers, friends and other support people contributed over 120 stories and illustrations promoting family friendly practice and advocating for mental health carers. The project shared coping strategies, explained different points of view, educated clinicians on how to work with families, shared reputable information on mental health and aimed to inspire change.
For privacy reasons members registered to access most of the resources and agreed to respectful and de-identified use of the site. Registration is no longer necessary as most content has been removed.
The basis of the Caring Together Art Journal Project was that mental illness does not play fair. It sucks hope out of the air and turns people against each other. It attacks everyone who might be able to take its power away – consumers, carers, families, friends and practitioners too.
Mental illness is felt by all of us, and the only way we can beat it is together. We need to strengthen and support one other and work together as partners in recovery. We all need to care for ourselves as well as others – and most of all we need to create an environment where hope thrives.
This project aimed to answer these questions:
- How does it feel to care for a loved one experiencing mental health challenges?
- How can we support our loved ones?
- How can we care for ourselves?
- How can carers, consumers and practitioners work together as a team?
- How can we keep hope alive?
I can’t speak highly enough of what you’ve achieved through this website and encourage all staff to have a look for themselves and also refer carers too!
Sharing stories to draw carers and clinicians together …. A standout paper I attended at the conference was the joint presentation by representatives from the Intangible Storytelling and the Caring Together Art Journal Projects.
The aims of these projects are to ‘enable carer voices to be heard, use them to educate and inform services, support other carers so they feel less alone, and allow these experiences to be seen and discussed in a wider context.
Carers Voice (Carers ACT) e-bulletin
Review: If there is only one website you view this year – this should be the one.
The Caring Together Art Journal Project is not only packed full of information but visually takes you on a colourful, thought provoking and moving journey. Art journals and mindmaps are the inspiration for this site. The website aims to share the carer viewpoint in a creative and personal way, with the hope that this will be a springboard to discussion between carers and clinicians, encouraging the sharing of ideas.
Trying to summarise this website into one paragraph just can’t be done … please take the time to have a look at it. If you don’t have access to a computer, remember there are computers available at your local library or contact the F&CMHP team in your area.
To Helen Wilding, the creator, artist, mother, carer (the list goes on) – you are inspirational. Thank you for sharing your journey, expertise, wisdom and talent. A Gandhi quote comes to mind “we must become the change we want to see in the world”
Family & Carer Mental Health Program Newsletter, Far West & Western Local Health Districts, NSW