Many people find themselves in the role of carer, supporting a parent, partner, child, friend or family member. It can be tough to cope alone and care for someone who has an illness, disability, mental health problem or addiction. People often assume that carers tend to be women but research shows that around four in ten carers are men.
Being someone’s carer probably only describes part of your relationship with them. This relationship can be just as (or more) important to you. You may also have other caring roles as well, for example as a parent to other children.
Supporting others can be mentally and physically exhausting. The time you spend caring can really vary too – some people look after someone for just a short time and others find themselves caring for someone for the long term.
What might I have to do if I am caring for or supporting someone else?
Caring can mean a range of things. Being patient and giving can feel like part of the normal give and take of any relationship, but sometimes you might find yourself spending a lot more time and effort helping someone else.
You may provide a range of support including:
- giving emotional support
- helping someone seek help for a mental health problem
- helping someone cope with a mental health problem
- cooking and cleaning
- personal care like washing and going to the toilet
- budgeting and looking after finances
- supporting them to live with others in your family (e.g. brothers and sisters)
- helping other family members understand the needs of the person you are caring for
- giving medicine or providing medical care
- going to appointments and advocating on their behalf (helping them express their views and wishes)
- checking they are safe.
We’ve teamed up with Mind, the mental health charity to provide you with some help and guidance. If you think you need support in a caring role please visit the Mind website for more information about getting help for yourself and the person you care for.
Please don’t struggle to cope alone. If you know someone at your club, place of work or in your friendship circle who you think may also need some help and support, speak to them. Offer them any support you can and encourage them to seek support. Many people never find out about the resources available to them as they can be difficult to find out about. Together we can make a difference.