The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18 – 24th May 2020), is kindness. From over 750,000 people signing up to support the NHS, to the weekly Clap For Our Carers which has now become a cornerstone of the week across the UK, this theme of being here for each other, supporting one another, and simply being kind is more important than ever as we all go through this global pandemic together.
Carers are under more stress now than ever before: and even without the huge added pressure a global pandemic brings, carers mental health has been a cause for concern. In 2015, a survey from Carers UK showed that 84% of carers feel more stressed, 78% feel more anxious and 55% reported that they suffered from depression as a result of their caring role.
After all, caring for someone else can have a big impact on your own mental health.
This mental health awareness week, we want to highlight some of the support networks and resources available to carers right now.
1. Carers UK Care For A Cuppa
Carers UK are currently hosting weekly ‘Care For A Cuppa’ sessions, in which carers can have a coffee and an online chat and just take a break for themselves.
For some carers, simply having a support network who understands what you do and what you might be going through is a real lifeline. You can find out more about the Carers UK online meet ups here.
2. Jointly App
The Jointly App allows you to create a ‘circle of care’ for the person you care for, so that organising care and communication is easier for everyone involved in that person’s care.
The app was designed by Carers UK specifically for carers, so is a useful tool for carers who are struggling to find a reliable way of communicating with your support network for the person you care for. More about the Jointly App here.
3. Support in your local area
Carers Trust has a feature on their website that allows you to find support available to you in your local area, from online meet ups and forums to ways of organising extra support and care if you need it.
You can use this feature on the Carers Trust website here.
4. Contact your local council
If you would like to find out about local carers support groups and communities, contact your local council to find out what is available to you.
Can’t find a local support group? Why not consider setting your own one up with your local authority.
5. Check the Mind website for resources and help
Mind provides help and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and have many resources designed specifically for carers who may be struggling.
From links to respite care to financial support, this guide on the Mind website is very helpful for carers who may be struggling.
Other ways to look after your own well-being:
If you are feeling under a lot of pressure as a carer right now, there are a few ways you can try to relieve some of that stress:
- Limit how much time you spend reading the news about coronavirus COVID-19, and only get your facts from respected sources
- Make sure you are taking time for yourself every day, whether that’s a walk alone or an hour in front of the TV with your favourite show.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, following good sleep hygiene habits such as no screens an hour before bed, and even trying a meditation exercise to help you relax before sleep
- Stay in touch with friends and family via phone and video calls, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Do you know a carer that might be in need of a pick me up? Nominate them via thankacarer.com/nominate and enter them in our regular prize draws to say ‘Thank You’ to the carers in our community.