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Introducing Kyah, Support Worker

When Kyah was eleven, she began caring for her mother after she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). Living with the enervating symptoms of fatigue, joint seizure and widespread muscle pain, Kyah’s mother relied on her daughter’s full-time support with everyday tasks including cooking meals, taking medication and getting out of bed. Kyah even had to take care of her two year old brother.

Leaning on her older sister for support with housework and looking after their younger brother, Kyah prioritised caring for her mum and preparing dinner for the family. With so many responsibilities at a young age, Kyah and her siblings felt the pressure of their full-time commitment. As they grew up, they battled with a series of mental health issues such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety and self-harm. Then, when her older sister started to focus on completing her GCSEs, things got worse. Kyah’s responsibilities at home multiplied, which meant she started missing school. This set Kyah back even more as she already struggled with dyslexia.

Despite having a limited formal education, Kyah was determined to succeed in life, and so she used her first-hand experience as a young carer to secure a job working in care offering end-of-life and palliative care services. Whilst Kyah loved caring for her clients and hearing their stories, she couldn’t ignore feeling misaligned with the company’s values which prioritised financial gain over the client’s wellbeing.

Because of this, Kyah decided to leave her job and started a new role in administration, only to be made redundant when the pandemic hit.

Kyah had been put off working in care due to her previous experience until she heard about Independent Living West Country’s client-focused approach from Nikki, a manager at the mental health service. Knowing that it would be a good fit for her, Kyah sought a position with the business. She was delighted to join the team in August 2020.

Kyah now assists clients with everyday activities such as handling bills, shopping, medication management, as well as ensuring clients get the right level of benefit, be that Personal Independent Payments (PIP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

Coming from a caring background, Kyah naturally possesses an empathetic personality and a genuine concern for the welfare of others. Since joining Independent Living West Country, Kyah has gone from strength to strength, recently completing her care certificate and a Level 2 Borderline Personality Disorder online course alongside many others.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be working in a role where no two days are the same. There’s a great variety of online courses available and I never stop learning about mental health – a subject I’m particularly interested in. The best part about my job is that it never feels like work, or even a chore, as every day is so rewarding.

“With so much training, learning and support available at Independent Living West Country, I not only feel like I’m in the best place to support clients with their mental health, but also to look after my own. In the past, there’s been times where I felt like I had hit rock bottom - to the point where I made attempts to end my life. During these times, I never felt like there was any help out there for me and I was too embarrassed to say anything. Looking back, I never want anyone to feel that way which is why I will always do everything I can to be there for my clients so they know they are not alone”, says Kyah.

“Every day, I get the privilege of talking to some wonderful people, listening to their stories, and helping them to turn their lives around. One of my clients, Matt, came to Independent Living West Country last year with no future in mind. With our support, his life has changed entirely for the better. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to be that friendly face that ends up making all the difference to people’s lives.” Read Matt’s full story here.

You can find out more about Independent Living West Country’s range of services here or get in touch with one of the team on 01392 467007.

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