The customer service worker’s partner and 14-year-old daughter have severe depression; her daughter also has an anxiety disorder.
Tracey said accessing MIFWA carer programs over the past 12 months had given her skills to help her loved ones while learning important self-care for herself.
‘The organisation has done so much for me and my family,’ she said. ‘I am a lot stronger at managing and caring for them both.
‘The programs have given me more optimism, strength and resilience.’
Tracey said the Building a Future program provided her with coping skills, while the family support program worked with the family at home.
‘Three-day carer retreats have been a highlight, an opportunity to take time out for myself, to take a breath and know I’m OK,’ she said.
‘There’s alone time, but also the chance to meet other carers in a similar situation so you don’t feel so isolated.’
Tracey said a big step had been learning how to monitor signs and symptoms that her partner or daughter may be becoming unwell.
‘I have gained fantastic skills to communicate more effectively with them and to hear where they are at and what is going on for them,’ she said.
‘The programs have made me understand myself too and the need for self-care, to eat and sleep properly and to take me time, so I can care for others.
‘If you don’t have the balance you can’t care for people.’
Tracey said the MIFWA experience inspired her to pursue a mental health career, so she could share her ‘lived experience’ with others.