Caring For a Loved One With Mental Ill-health

Helping Others

If your loved one has been diagnosed with a mental health condition, you may struggle to find the right support. It’s important your loved one or family member gets referred straight away to a community mental health team or an understanding GP. From there, you can put the right support in place.

You may find yourself taking on caring duties of your loved one, supporting them as they start on their journey of recovery. Supporting someone with mental ill-health takes time and patience. Sometimes just being a listening ear is enough. Other times practical measures like making sure the person you care for keeps important appointments is required.

Just being there is an enormous support to the person suffering. And it’s vital to remember people do recover from mental health issues given time and healing. Finding a therapist who can listen can also be advisable. It can be a difficult role to be a carer, so it’s important you seek support for yourself.

A carer is “a person of any age, adult or child, who provides unpaid support to a partner, child, relative or friend who couldn’t manage to live independently or whose health or wellbeing would deteriorate without this help. This could be due to frailty, disability or serious health condition, mental ill health or substance misuse.” – The Royal College of General Practitioners, 2011.

A lot of people who provide unpaid support do not see themselves as carers as they may feel that is a normal part of life. This support might include:

  • personal care such as assistance with bathing and dressing
  • help with medication
  • cooking, grocery shopping and domestic tasks
  • accompanying to appointments
  • transport
  • help managing finances
  • emotional support.

In April 2015, there were changes to the way care and support is provided in England. The Care Act introduced new rights for carers, meaning that you can get the support you need to help you continue caring and look after your own wellbeing.

Since April 2015 you have had the right to:

  • have your views taken into consideration by health and social care services when supporting or treating the person you care for
  • have an assessment of your own needs as a carer (either jointly with the person you care for or separately)
  • specific advice and information for carers that you can understand
  • have your say if you are no longer prepared to care, or are not prepared to do an element of caring
  • be helped to develop a carer’s support plan
  • a personal budget to meet any ‘eligible needs’
  • a choice as to how your personal budget is managed.

As a carer, you are entitled to financial support. The main benefit is Carer’s Allowance and you may still be entitled to this benefit if you are in work. Find out more here.

At Bridge, we have a team of support workers ready to care for your loved one. We can design a bespoke care package tailored to individual’s needs. We offer flexible community support services where we can support the individual from one hour up to 20 hours per week while they remain in their home. We also offer supported housing facilities if you feel it is best your loved one or family member moves into housing to be supported.

There are a range of services in the community to help carers. The Stables SE7, is a Carers’ Centre in the Greenwich Borough. The centre offers Support Officers who can give you up to 6 weeks’ intensive support and more after that if needed. They offer facilities to enable you to make friends with other carers too. There are many carers in the community who you can meet with.

Remember, it is important to be supported in your caring role as it can take its toll on your emotional health. You are not alone. And referring your loved one to Bridge will take some of the pressure off you, as our support workers are expert in caring for people with mental ill-health.

Extracts taken from the Royal Borough of Greenwich website on Carers. For more information, visit: http://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/info/200015/carers

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