Carers Week (6th – 12th June) is an annual campaign to raise awareness of care in the UK and to highlight the challenges that carers face every day.
According to new research launched for Carers Week 2016, the life chances of people who care for an older, ill or disabled loved one without pay, are being damaged by the lack of support available. Studies have revealed that 50% of carers have seen their mental health worsen and over 30% of carers only seek help and support in an emergency.
Of the six million UK carers, over half combine caring for a family member with paid work and over two million people who are caring for a loved one, also have a family with young children.
If you are a carer or know somebody who is, please visit our carer support page for more information.
Carers in the UK come from all age groups and may be caring for a number of reasons. They range from children and teenagers to adults, from all walks of life.
Children and young people who have taken the responsibility of caring for a family member are known as young carers. They may miss out on many childhood experiences, such as playing with friends or receiving a regular education. Young carers are often thought to carry a heavier burden, as the emotional and physical responsibilities they face are usually expected of someone more experienced.
Becoming a carer is life-changing and often happens without much thought. Some individuals may take the responsibility as a short-term solution, others may have been caring since they were a child and not know any different. Every case is different and everyone will be affected differently. While being a carer can be a rewarding and gratifying experience, without the right support and information, carers can struggle. Many studies suggest caring can result in poor relationships, loneliness, money problems, stress, illness and mental health problems.
Unfortunately, caring for another person can lead to the carer forgetting to care for themselves.
How counselling can help
For some people, being a carer can be an isolating experience. Talking through your concerns and issues can be very healing, providing a sense of relief, especially if you have been keeping your worries to yourself. Counselling can offer an opportunity to talk, be listened to, be heard and understood. Contacting a counsellor can help you explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences without feeling guilty or selfish.
Talking to a counsellor can help you work towards healing, both physically and mentally, understand your thoughts and feel better.