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. Try your local neighbourhood pages to 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