There are over 6 million carers in the UK, about 1.5 million of whom care for someone with a mental health problem. The impact of caring on families and friends can be very significant, and their own health and wellbeing may be affected.
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers’ Health Survey in 2004 found that among carers who responded:
- 38% reported suffering stress/nervous tension
- 28% reported suffering from depression
- 27% reported suffering from anxiety
This was in addition to other health problems reported, such as high blood pressure or back injury. (5 Key Facts about mental health carers The Carers Trust)
If you're a carer, it's important that you think about your health and wellbeing, as well as about the health and wellbeing of the person you care for. Caring can be very rewarding, and can bring positives, but you may need support to get the most out of it, and to maintain your own welllbeing. The 5 ways to welllbeing are:
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. You may be part of a faith community, or an interest group. Try the Mental Health Carers Forums in the north of the county or in the south and City Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day. You can also visit the Carers in Derbyshire website to find out what is available.
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun. Find out about local courses and opportunities that you could access, or if you live in Derby City, contact Creative Carers on 01332 227711.
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness. See Derbyshire Sport, or try our Keeping Active Centre
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you. Find out about Mindfulness for carers or try Mindfulnet
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
For more information...
See our Carers Handbook for more information
See our Infolink Families and Carers Resource Directory for services you can contact
See our 'How to get help card' for families and carers for support in asking for help
Visit the Carers in Derbyshire website
Read the Practical Guide to Healthy Caring published by Public Health England
How Carers can feel - a poem read by Paul Wiggins
- Finding and maintaining hope – believing in oneself; having a sense of personal agency; optimistic about the future;
- Re-establishment of a positive identity – finding a new identity which incorporates illness, but retains a core, positive sense of self;
- Building a meaningful life – making sense of illness, finding a meaning in life despite illness, engaged in life;
- Taking responsibility and control - feeling in control of illness and in control of life.
(after Andresen, Oades & Caputi, 2003 Making Recovery a Reality, Sainsbury 2008)
Check out ways of managing your own wellbeing in this section
To fulfil these important and challenging roles, family and friends need effective support from services. This support can come in a number of forms and will, of course, need to be tailored to every situation. In IMROC briefing 4: Recovery: a Carers perspective Karen Machin and Julie Repper consider how carers can support recovery for the person they care for, and how they can be supported Key actions for services include:
- identifying carers,
- tackling stigma and discrimination,
- understanding the impact of caring,
- delivering family interventions,
- developing carer peer support,
- offering education not therapy
Courses for Carers
Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well, A course for Carers
Derbyshire Mental Health Carers Forums are a self-help group of mental health carers and ex-carers holding forum meetings and support groups at various locations throughout Derbyshire. Click here for North Derbyshire Mental Health Carers Forum (click here for their leaflet) and South Derbyshire and City Mental Health Carers Forum
Carers in Derbyshire website
Derbyshire Carers Association provides advice and support for carers in Derbyshire
Helping Carers to be Healthy and Connected provides advice on services on offer in Derbyshire
Talking Points in Derby City
Find out about a scheme to provide Computers 4 Carers
Checklist of questions to ask the psychiatrist
Derby City Council – Looking after Someone advice
NHS Choices - Carers Direct or ring 0808 802 0202 for free confidential advice and information for carers
Direct.Gov Caring for Someone gives advice and information about carers rights
Money and benefits
Carers Trust have information and advice on money
Free cinema tickets for carers from C.E.A.
Read the Employment Rights for Carers Factsheet produced by Creative Carers
Find out about medicines, side effects, and mental health problems
People with a learning disability
People with dementia
AGE UK Guide for Carers
Families affected by drug use
Adfam supporting families affected by drug use
Research opportunities for Carers
Research is the way in which evidence is gathered about "what works" in order to improve patient treatments for the future. At Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, we are committed to the promotion and conduct of clinically focused research and work within our local research networks to increase the number of opportunities for our service users to take part in these high-quality research studies.
We currently have a number of opportunities for patients, carers and staff to take part in local research. Please click here for more information about individual research studies.
The Triangle of Care
The six key standards of the Triangle of Care state that:
- Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
- Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
- Policy and practice protocols re: confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
- Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
- A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
- A range of carer support services is available.
The Triangle of Care: Carers included is published by the Carers Trust