There are an estimated 6.5 million carers in the UK and statistics from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) have recently reported suicide rates for male and female care workers are now three times the national average.
This rate has been rising steadily over the last 15 years and will only increase if this serious issue is not addressed.
Caring can bring so much satisfaction to peoples lives but, without the right support, carers can become lonely, desperate and feel like there is no way out.
Carers help with the day-to-day living needs but this can have a devastating affect on their lives. Carers can find situations intense, life changing, they find it challenging to hold down employment while also trying to provide care. They become isolated from family and friends, sacrifice social life and free time, have difficulties getting a good nights sleep and struggle to stay healthy.
There are many extra expenses to worry about too such as increased heating, electricity and laundry bills. As a carer you don’t get holiday, sick pay, promotions or pay rises.
When asked carers often reported high levels of stress and anxiety, feelings of depression, injury such as back pain and high blood pressure.
All this stress and pressure has lead many carers to contemplate, attempt or even commit suicide.
According to a report by Carers UK, 72% of carers said they have suffered with their mental health and nearly half (46%) said they have suffered from depression as a consequence of their caring role.
Most people don’t chose to become carers, it just happens and sometimes this change can happen overnight. Many carers don’t get any training or support and are expected to cope looking after another person as well as themselves. Some carers also have families they must try and juggle whilst caring for another family member or friend.
Carers only get identified and offered support when they are in crisis but the key is to make sure they have the support in place to prevent this from happening. It is imperative we realise what a vitally important and stressful job carers do. Like the care and support they give to others they also need help, to feel supported and feel cared for too.