TUART Hill resident Patrick Hardwick is a finalist for this year’s Australian Mental Health Prize.
The 64-year-old is a carer for his wife Judith, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and clinical depression following a car accident, and helped develop national resource A Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness.
Mr Hardwick suffers from anxiety and depression and was spurred to make the guide after finding there was no support for him during his first years as a carer.
“I was concerned that the views of mental health carers do not get considered in care planning and most significantly in the discharge plan of their loved ones,” he said.
“Family members and carers often have a unique role to play in their loved one’s journey because they know the person, and knew them before they became unwell.”
He is president of Helping Minds and Mental Health Carers Australia, as well as deputy chair of the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network.
Mr Hardwick was the driving force behind the guide, which is backed by a website and eventually an app and e-learning modules.
“The guide will be a game changer and make a huge difference to mental health carers and consumers across the country as it is eventually implemented into public, private and community managed mental health service practices across Australia,” he said.
“It is designed to reduce stigma around mental health by ensuring that service providers, both government, private and in the not-for-profit sector, recognise the important role that mental health carers play.”
He is among six finalists, and the only one from WA, being recognised for their contribution to the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
“I am very honoured on behalf of mental health carers across Australia that finally, they are being acknowledged,” he said.
“The 2.4 million people who care for those with a mental illness, and those who work with these carers, to a large extent have been the unsung heroes in mental health in this country.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will announce the winner at a ceremony in Sydney on November 20.