Why it’s important to recognise carers
Written by Rachel O’Shea
The theme for Carer’s Week this year was ‘Make caring visible, valued and supported’. The week aims to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the UK’s estimated 6.5 million carers. The campaign aims to raise awareness for carers both paid and unpaid and the contribution they make to the local community and families.
What it can be like to be a carer
Caring for someone with a mental illness can be a rewarding role but it doesn’t come without its challenges. It’s not always a role that is recognised, and many of us don’t realise that we are carers. Carers week is a chance for all unpaid carers to stand up, be counted, and access support.
I am one of the many who didn’t realise I was moving into a role with caring responsibilities, I still remember being taken aback when I was named a carer on my family members’ medical records. I saw it as part of my supporting role for a family member, something everyone would do. It’s often a difficult role to explain, I have only ever been able to describe it as lonely and all consuming.
Why carers are so important
Unpaid carers save the country £193 billion every year, this is mostly hidden as caring happens behind closed doors. It’s so important to be able to talk about caring responsibilities, it’s something we should all be able to talk about with friends, family, at work, and in the local community. Working carers are more likely to not identify as a carer, and therefore not access support services for help. Carers week aims to highlight all the carers, both paid and unpaid, and provide them with information to access support.
How HFEH Mind supports Carers
Carers will risk their own health and wellbeing often without realising it. We are very proud to offer support services for carers at HFEH Mind:
Dual Diagnosis Carers Group – In partnership with Ealing Rise CGL. Offers a monthly blended (virtual via zoom and in person) group: Dual Diagnosis Carers in the local community on the last Tuesday of every month. It’s a fantastic group facilitated by carers for carers.
Safe Space – Offers support to carers who feel they are nearing crisis point. This service can be accessed both in person, telephone and virtually. You can drop into this service between 5-7pm 7 days a week or book an appointment.
You can also find support for carers on our directory of services Wellbeing West London, search by category for ‘carers support’ to find support in your local area.
Carers UK have released new research which reveals that the financial pressure that many unpaid carers face has now become unsustainable. According to JRF’s UK Poverty 2022 report, unpaid carers are more likely to live in poverty than those without caring responsibilities.
It’s clear that unpaid carers don’t do what they do for the money. But they deserve a level of income which provides an acceptable standard of living.
Now, more than ever, with the increase in the cost of living, we need to make sure that unpaid carers are not forgotten. These incredible people make huge personal sacrifices daily and collectively enable our health and care system to function. A huge thank you to all the carers, and we here at HFEH Mind celebrate the work you do, not just during Carers Week, but every day.
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Posted on: 13th June 2022