"I was respected and heard." A Chinese carer's story

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Published Sep 17 2021

Grace*, a mother and carer, was relieved to access support services like counselling and home care through Carer Gateway. The busy mother cares for her son who has an Intellectual Disability and was looking for ways to find respite, build community connections and work through the challenges of her role.

Being part of the Chinese community, Grace has shared how it has not always been a comfortable process seeking help. It didn’t matter if she was distressed or having a tough day, “Feeling like I am not being judged is important. I was respected and heard.”

She felt relieved and grateful to speak with a professional clinician after a difficult period in her life.

The Royal Commission’s 2021 Issue Paper into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability describes additional and unique challenges due to the cultural and linguistic diversity of people within the disability sector:

Particular cultural beliefs, and some community attitudes that may stigmatise disability, can result in people with a disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds being viewed and treated in negative ways

Like Grace, carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds may not know if they are eligible for support or even identify as a carer (Mental Health Carers NSW 2020). Before being referred to Carer Gateway, Grace had tried other support services; however they did not meet her needs. “I was stuck, I was operating like a machine through very difficult times, I was mentally and physically exhausted”. The Carer Gateway team helped organise cleaning services to attend her home twice a month and guided her through local counselling sessions.

Of Carer Gateway, Grace says “This has been the best program” she has ever accessed. By sharing her experience, she hopes to encourage others in a similar situation to seek support and information that is available to them.

“The staff were professional throughout” says Grace.

She was able to access organisations and workshops of her choice. [They helped with] “Things like going out with other carers or even just to the movies are so important. Something small can make a huge difference – I am doing something just for me”.

Being part of a small outing has been a huge benefit for Grace. Receiving carer supports has meant she is happier, has found more meaning in her life and is able to continue to support her son. Through Carer Gateway, Grace has found more balance in her life and more engagement in her community.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy