Mental health takeover: Carers struggling with their mental health should seek help before they reach crisis point

Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Caring for someone with a mental health condition can affect carers' own mental health and wellbeing, according to Norfolk Carers - the local information and support service for unpaid carers.

Carers using the service are often facing particularly stressful situations in their lives, such as deterioration in their or their loved ones health, and managing changing relationships and roles.

Tim Allard, executive manager for Norfolk Carers Support, who provide services to family carers said: 'We often support carers who are in complex situations and also coping with their own, or other people's mental health conditions. For example we were recently contacted by a carer who is looking after eight children, a husband with mental health condition and a parent with dementia. In another case, a carer contacted us because she was concerned for her adult daughter with schizophrenia and a drug addiction and whose behaviour when ill was challenging, particularly towards her younger brother. The daughter had been sectioned and the carer wanted advice on the discharge process and her rights as a parent/carer. We were able to provide information about care after hospital, advise the carer on strategies for better managing her reaction to daughter's challenging behaviour and we helped her to get help in a monthly carer support group.'

And Mr Allard encouraged carers to get support at an early stage rather than wait until there's a crisis before seeking help to cope. He added: 'We've been supporting a carer whose husband has had a mental health condition for 30 years. Her boiler had been condemned and she was without heating and hot water, her elderly aunt had passed away the previous week and the carer had a major argument with her brother. As well as helping her to resolve the practical issues, we were able to build up trust with her so that she could discuss and properly work through her feelings and, after intense emotional support and reassurance over a couple of weeks, she felt better able to cope.

'We're urging carers who are struggling with their own or others' mental health condition or wellbeing to contact us - there is help and support available to help you feel less isolated and better able to cope.'


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The service can be contacted on 0808 808 9876, or www.norfolkcarers.org.uk

• For more from the EDP's special mental health takeover edition, click here.

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