Mark's appeal - Support for exhausted unpaid carers Donate Mark is an unpaid carer for his girlfriend Heidi who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2005. At first, Mark didn’t know who to turn to for support and in trying to get Heidi urgent help he used up all their savings and went completely broke. The diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia affected Mark and Heidi’s social life by scaring people off, it even caused a split within Heidi’s family. The disease can cause Heidi to have episodes at any given moment which means Mark has to give Heidi round-the-clock care. The 24/7 nature of Mark’s caring role has, and can, cause complete exhaustion, depression, isolation and frustration. “As unpaid carers, we often don’t know what we’re entitled to, and the system doesn’t appreciate the amount of work we do. We can feel lonely and unsupported, and it takes a huge toll on our mental health too.” When Mark found Wandsworth Carers’ Centre, a Carers Trust Network Partner, his life turned around. Mark joined a support group which helped his own mental health struggles. The Carers Trust Network Partner offered Mark specialist mental health support, vital advice and information, and the opportunity to talk and socialise with others in similar situations. Mark visiting our Network Partner meant his mental health improved and he got important breaks from caring to relieve exhaustion. An improvement in Mark’s mental health meant he could take better care of Heidi which then helped Heidi live a better life with her condition. You can make a difference in the lives of unpaid carers and the people they care for like Mark and Heidi Peer support £10 could go towards setting up more support groups for carers like Mark; to share experiences and learn from each other to navigate the system. Mental health support £25 could provide a listening ear, specialist counselling and mental health support in centres across the UK. Respite £50 could help provide valuable opportunities for respite for carers who are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. “Carers Trust support has been a lifeline for me… I can’t stress enough how vital your support is in helping wonderful charities like Carers Trust to help people like me to access the help and resources we need to take care of our loved ones.” With your support Carers Trust can continue to support unpaid carers like Mark at a time when they very much need the support during a cost-of-living crisis and lack of government support.