‘My name is Marcella Cooper, and I am the mother of three children. My middle child, a son, has autism, a learning disability and behaviour can be regarded as challenging. I became a full-time family carer in 2000 when work and caring became incompatible. I continue to care for my son who is now 26 and lives independently in his rented home, but with support.
I have been involved with many national organisations, representing family carers from the black minority and ethic (BME) community. When we have a child with a learning disability we often have to think and make the right decision for that person, so I am always having to think not just for myself, but for my son too, and I suspect it must take a toll on our mental health and wellbeing. So I relax by writing children books which have been illustrated by my husband. We have now self-published two children books, and I continue to write adult novels as it’s a good way to pass away my respite. Writing also relaxes me and helps me escape real life for a few hours.
The most recent group I was part of was the HEE Learning Disability Expert Reference Group, chaired by Baroness Hollins. I think it’s important as family carers for our voices to be heard, and I am really glad that we are being given this opportunity at the Mental Wealth Festival. So thank you.’