Helping family and friend carers take care of their own mental health

Senior psychologists are encouraging family and friend carers across Sussex to look after their own mental health during the coronavirus crisis – and offering advice and guidance to help them.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – which provides specialist mental health and learning disability services in Sussex and Hampshire – has published information and support for family and friend carers so they can manage the way they are feeling, particularly if they are not receiving the usual everyday support because of the current crisis.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Kathy Greenwood, said: “Supporting a family member or someone else with distressing conditions such as dementia or psychosis is invaluable but may be especially stressful at the moment. Family and friend carers may feel more down, worried, irritable or frustrated than normal. Also, they may feel that they don’t have the usual support because the current situation has disrupted routine care.

“Everyone’s mental health is likely to be better if the atmosphere is calm and relaxed. There are some things that family and friend carers can do to help themselves. At the same time, we are providing specific advice and guidance which we hope will give people the support they need.”

Jacqueline Clarke-Mapp, Carer Leader at Sussex Partnership, added: “We are actively working with our partner carer organisations to identify family and friend carers and refer them for support.”

Any family and friend carer who feels they are struggling with their mental health should call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0300 5000 101. Sussex Partnership has expanded this helpline to provide a 24/7 service, offering crisis mental health information and support.

You can read the advice and support here.