Celebrating Carers at UTS: Chontell Asserian
Assistant Services Officer, Workforce Management
I have two sons. One will be 29 this year. Because he was born with extensive disabilities as a result of fluid on the brain, I’ve been his carer since birth.
You can’t fall down. You’ve got no other option, so you just keep going. My family needs me.
In 2013 my husband was in a car accident, suffering brain injury and spinal damage. That same year I was diagnosed with cancer. Going through radiation and chemotherapy while caring for two family members – hard doesn’t even begin to describe it.
You burn through sick leave and carers leave quickly with those burdens. But my team, the Student Admin Unit at UTS, has been great with finding ways to accommodate and just make it work.
I now have Mondays off to make time for appointments. Being able to reduce your hours and know that you still have a job, and the support of your team, helps so much.
It can be terribly isolating. I struggled with my mental health. But help is there: I’ve used the UTS counselling service, and my colleagues have been a source of support.
I want to tell other carers: Talk to people, share your story. You don’t need to carry it all yourself.