For many ‘mental health carers’, their role does not have a name. It is just something they do for somebody they care for. Carers Week helps such carers to identify as carers and access much-needed support, from us and elsewhere.
This year, carers across the country are continuing to face new challenges because of the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives and friends who require mental health support.
They need to be recognised for the difficulties they are experiencing, respected for all they are doing, and provided with information, support and understanding from the team looking after the person they support.
The impact for carers on all aspects of their life, from relationships and health to finances and work should not be underestimated, and carers are facing even more difficult circumstances this year. Whilst many feel that caring is one of the most important things they do, its challenges should not be underestimated. Caring without the right information and support can be tough.
A recent research study from Carers UK found that:
- 70% of carers are providing more care due to the Coronavirus outbreak
- 55% of carers have felt overwhelmed at some point during the current situation
- 69% of carers are providing more help with emotional support, motivation or keeping an eye/checking in on the person they care for.
We have a wealth of Carers resources available here: https://www.gmmh.nhs.uk/carers-family-and-friends including our Carers and Confidentiality Guide, Carers Assessment Factsheet and GMMH booklet on Lasting Powers of Attorney for Carers.
We are also very pleased to share with you at this time our new Mental Health Carers Handbook. Our Carer Lead, Neil Grace, has developed this to cover common concerns and questions raised by carers of our service users.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been so positive to hear about the creative work ongoing across services to keep carers involved and in contact with the person that they care for. From wards encouraging service users to write letters, setting up ward skype accounts to enable video calling and hearing of care coordinators regularly phoning carers to check in on them. Teams with Carer Support Workers are adapting to support carers in innovative ways including virtual support groups! Our Carer Peer Mentors are continuing to use their lived experience to support other carers at this time.
We extend our thank-you to all those carers, family and friends providing support. The help that they provide is so important and appreciated.
“…Initially, I had a problem when mental health staff referred to me as her ‘Carer’. I’m a brother and a friend, first and foremost.
It took a professional working with Sarah and myself for many weeks before we could both understand that my role was also that of a carer. I had to learn to come to terms with the fact that this was a part of my relationship with my sister, but also that it did not define our relationship.
A lot of our friends and family never see the extent of my caring role…when they’ve gone home from family gatherings, they don’t see the emotional support I have to give to her, the encouragement to get her to take her medication or talking her through the evenings events to reassure her that it went well. Before I realised I was a carer, I never thought about the support I was providing and how it was also having an impact on my own health…”