ONE of Support in Mind Scotland's service users, Pete, has been kind enough to share a song he wrote recognising just how important it is for carers' voices to be heard. You can listen to it here:



Here is Pete's story...

Some time ago I could not listen as I thought I knew best, but then I became aware of the position my life was really in. It was through my wife talking to me that I realised I was ill and I became aware that I was too wrapped up in my self-belief that I was not listening. So here is my story.

My wife became not only my carer but my confidant. I now have a saying: 'You may live in a castle, but it is friendships that make you rich'. And another one 'Life is but a moment long but love lasts forever in a song'.

I believe listening is not only for the person who is ill but for everyone.

Psychiatrists: please listen, there is more to the patient than you may assume

My thoughts are that listening becomes a chain reaction from the nurses, CPNs, GPs, psychiatrists and carers. In my opinion the most important person in the chain is the carer - as they are the people that live with the illness or addiction, whatever the case may be.

Therefore, this leads me to believing that the others in the chain, especially the psychiatrists, should be the ones listening to what carers have to say on the condition and thoughts on the person or people suffering from their illness. Everyone thinks that the psychiatrists know best, but that is debatable, as in my opinion they should be listening to what the carer has to say and then come to their diagnosis.

Psychiatrists: please listen, there is more to the patient than you may assume.

This is what prompted me to write my song. Here are the lyrics....

Chorus

Please listen, listen to the carers

They're the ones that know, what it's all about

So doctors, listen to the carers

They're the ones that know, what it's all about

First Verse

Please doctors, please listen to them first

They're the ones that live with it each and every day

Sometimes the patients only tell you

What you want to hear

For they always have a fear, of what you'll say or do

Chorus

Second Verse

So doctors, don't think that you know best

You'll be the same as all the rest

If you don't listen to the carers

There's a chain that ends in Chinese whispers

So please be smart and crisper

Hey I'll tell you what to do

Third verse

Only then, you should make your diagnosis

To keep the carers' promises

Of the love and care they give to us

So doctors never lose your focus

Sit up and please take notice

To what the carers say

Please listen, just listen to them first

Just listen

I feel the role of the carer is underestimated by the medical profession in general, and this should not be the case. The role of the carer is 24/7 and they should be respected by all in the chain.

Instead, they are often left to get on with their 'burden' of looking after a loved one and only in extreme circumstances do they call for assistance. Quite often that help is not readily available, and if this is the case they often feel they have let their loved ones down.