As a carer, it is important to look after yourself so your ability to care is not affected. Telling your GP that you are an unpaid carer will help them to understand and support you better.
Prioritise your own health:
- Ask at your GP practice for a health check and discover self-help care and advice on the NHS Choices website.
- Recognise your stress triggers and know how to manage stress in your daily life.
- Counselling and other talking therapy services' can be helpful if you need someone to listen.
Carers are a flu vaccine priority group, so you are entitled to get this for free by asking at your GP practice. This vaccine is important for you as a preventative measure for the person you care for.
Carers are twice as likely to suffer from ill-health as non-carers. More than half of those who provide more substantial care have suffered physical ill-health as a result of caring, and more than 70 per cent of those caring round the clock have suffered mental ill-health at some time.
What support is available?
There are lots of organisations providing services that can help you. Browse your local support options and identify the right organisations and services to support you.
Below are some useful guides, websites and resources that can also support you to take care of yourself.
Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. It is important to speak to somebody if you find that you are struggling to maintain your mental health, it is not a sign of failure, it is recognition that you are human.
- If you think you're in immediate danger of hurting yourself or someone else, call 999.
- If you've already hurt yourself, go to the nearest Accident and Emergency department.
- If you already use local mental health services, your care plan will include details of what to do and who to contact if you are unwell. If you've already been given a Crisis Line number, call it.
- The Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline on 116 123 for confidential, non-judgmental, emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide.
Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind (01642 257020) have a range of services and self-help tools.
Every Mind Matters website has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.
Boro Man Can is created by Middlesbrough Men (whether they work, rest or play here). It features real Boro Men's stories, to inspire hope and action for other Boro Men to live longer, function and feel better.
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won't show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
Kooth is a fantastic, free and confidential, online support tool for young people to access mental health support and counselling.
TEWV (Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust) provide a range of services including their free crisis telephone line: Those in mental distress, including children and older people, can now contact their local crisis service on freephone number 0800 0516 171.
We all know the basics for looking after our physical health, use the links to access a range of helpful information to get you on the right tracks:
Our physical health affects our ability to take care of our mental health and visa versa. Speak with your GP if you are struggling to manage any of the above on your own. Here are some further resources that can help:
Middlesbrough Live Well Centre have a range of services aimed to inspire you to live your healthiest, happiest life.
Take a look at this short video from Keeping Well at Home which shows Val and Imran at the Live Well Centre as they show us some movements for balance and also get some mental wellbeing tips from Richie:
You've Got This Facebook page provides real ideas for real people who want to be more active.
Action's for Happiness
Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. They are backed by leading experts from diverse fields including psychology, education, economics and social innovation.
Our genes influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (like income and environment) affect only about 10%. 40% is accounted for by our daily activities and the conscious choices we make. This shows that our daily actions can really make the difference!
The Action for Happiness movement has identified 10 keys to achieving happiness:
- Do things for others
- Connect with others
- Take care of your body
- Live life mindfully
- Keep learning new things
- Have goals to look forward to
- Find ways to bounce back
- Look for what's good
- Be comfortable with who you are
- Be part of something bigger.
Have a look at their monthly calendars which are packed with small actions you can take to help create a happier and kinder world.
Take a look at activity packs available from MVDA. One has been created for carers and one for volunteers. The activities included are perfect for taking time out for yourself and having some well deserved 'me time'.