The Board of Mental Health Carers Tasmania (MHCTas) is presently considering a name change for the organisation. One of our primary aims is to be a voice for those who support people with mental ill health and to provide opportunities for them to express their views.
A theme which has been common to a number of different forums has been the view that “carer” is not a term that many people are comfortable with. They feel that the term does not reflect the nature of the relationship which they have with the person they support.
In March, Sane Carers forum “Topic Tuesday” asked “Does the term Carer make you feel uncomfortable?’ Feedback indicated that the term “Carer” can be seen as reflecting a role rather than a relationship. There was a strongly expressed view that we are husbands, wives, sons, sisters, family members and friends and that is why we care and support each other. Many people do not see themselves as carers. They are loving, caring and supporting because of relationships not simply out of a sense of duty or because they are employed to perform the role.
The Board is concerned that having “carer” in our name may be a barrier to people engaging with us and in turn may miss out on support and education opportunities. It is very important that the people we seek to represent feel comfortable that we are keen to understand their situation and to respond to their views and needs in the most appropriate manner.
Another consideration is that there is confusion in the sector and the community about the initials MHCT which we share with the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, a body with whom we work closely but one which has a very different role.
The Board is keen to hear any suggestions which you may have regarding a name which more appropriately reflects what MHCTas is to you. Any thoughts and ideas will be welcomed and should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 16th May 2018.