National Family Caregivers Month
Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month – a time to celebrate the contributions of caregivers, provide them with the tools that they need, and continue to advocate for individuals with mental illness.
There are over 53 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. Twenty-seven percent or nearly a third of adult caregivers are helping someone with a mental illness. Caregiving can often have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver in more ways than one. It can make maintaining your physical and mental health more difficult and may put a strain on work and social life.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, feelings of stress, worry, and isolation may have become familiar to all of us. Despite the current situation, caregiving-as-usual happens. Loved ones may have doctor appointments or there may be prescriptions to refill. Being a family caregiver is difficult in the best of circumstances. The stress and challenges of the role can have a huge impact on a family caregiver’s mental health, leading to more family caregivers experiencing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug addiction, and anxiety.
It’s important for caregivers to take care of their own mental health. Supporting caregivers with information and resources can help them maintain their mental health and better serve loved ones with mental illness.
If you are a caregiver struggling with your own mental health, visit mhascreening.org to take a free, anonymous, and confidential screen.
In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, MHA released a new report, The Strain of Caregiving: How Caregiver Involvement Reduces Distress and Conflict, which explores whether family caregivers feel involved in the care of their loved ones if involvement has an effect on their levels of distress and conflict in providing care, and the hope they have for their loved one’s recovery.