Starting CHAT 4 Dementia has been an ambition I have had for a long time.
Sadly, mental health services are stretched beyond capacity in all areas. There is not enough funding to help those with dementia struggling with issues arising from their diagnosis and subsequent changing needs, let alone those who care for them. The aim of CHAT is to try and ease some of that pressure, and hopefully give carers a little respite - even if it's just a couple of hours a week.
I have a degree in Psychology which gave me initial interest in many areas of mental health. I then completed a Master's Degree in Mental Health, specialising in dementia in my final year.
I also have personal experience of people who have dementia, and those who care for them. Most of these people care for a family member, and have made sacrifices in order to do so. For example, giving up work, or vastly reducing working hours. This has many consequences: less money coming in, less social interaction, loss of personal identity, and very little 'down time'. This can then result in the carer themselves becoming ill - physically and mentally.
There are already some groups that will involve carers, together with the person they are caring for, but I wanted this one to be where carers can have a break, on their own, and talk to people in similar situations. Perhaps swap tips or coping strategies, but mostly just to realise they are not on their own and there are people out there who care about them.