Edinburgh Local

Comic for kinship carers helps de-stress family life

A comic book full of helpful hints has been launched to support people who play vital caring roles within their family circles.

Kinship carers
Cathy's Relaxation Story

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have teamed up with local kinship carers to create a comic book with helpful hints for people who play vital caring roles in their families

The free one-off magazine comes with an audio CD and aims to boost the wellbeing of people looking after children in their family who are not living with their parents.  It includes relaxation tips put together by public health experts as well as advice on supporting distressed children.

Kinship carers are often grandparents or aunts and uncles. They take care of children who no longer live with their parents because of circumstances such as death, addictions and abuse.  Around 17,000 children in Scotland live in kinship care.

Kinship carers may face high levels of stress and money worries, and may have few resources to support their mental wellbeing.   Local kinship carers worked with University researchers to develop the comic, called Cathy’s Relaxation Story.  It tells the tale of Cathy and her teenage grandson Jordan, and relaxation techniques and other coping mechanisms including how to build a support network are woven throughout the story. 


 The relaxation techniques have helped me a lot and I tend to do the breathing exercises when I feel myself getting agitated. They have helped me talk to my autistic grandson in a calm way and better explain things to him.

Catherine Stewart, kinship carer who helped create the resource

The comic, which has been supported by funding from the Robertson Trust, was launched a few weeks ago at a kinship carer event at the University of Edinburgh.

Project lead, Dr Jane Hartley, Research Fellow at the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “By improving the wellbeing of kinship carers we hope to have a positive impact on their relationship with the children they care for. The resource is easy to access and we encourage kinship carers from across the country to use it.”

Ben Thurman, Policy and Research Officer at the young people’s charity Mentor, said: “Many of the kinship carers we work with experience high levels of stress and we are thrilled to see the launch of Cathy’s Relaxation Story, which we believe to be an important and timely resource.”

Access the resource

The resource is available online at http://kinship.scot/blog/2018/05/15/cathys-relaxation-story-a-relaxation-skills-resource-for-kinship-carers/.

Find out more

For further information, please contact Kate McAllister  Kate.McAllister@ed.ac.uk