Why we’re promoting carers’ mental health and wellbeing this Carers Week
It’s important to remember that, sometimes, people who dedicate their lives to caring for others may need help themselves. Caring for a loved one can be a source of great personal satisfaction but it can also create its own set of challenges.
Carers’ Hub work stems from the fact that carers often go about their roles despite the toll it might take on their own wellbeing and how difficult it is to put yourself first. That is why we are committed to helping carers carve out time for themselves to make sure they aren’t running on empty.
Over the past two years, many carers have faced increasing challenges of isolation, financial worries, boredom and growing pressures from their caring role, due to the pandemic and the pressures, this has added.
In this blog we will look at:
How Carers’ Hub is working to support carers’ mental health and wellbeing
How you can get involved in activities at Carers’ Hub
Practical tips and resources for looking after your own mental wellbeing
Signposting to mental health services in Lambeth
What are we doing to support carers' mental health and wellbeing?
Speaking about mental health is important. We all have it, whether it is in a good place or needs attention. Through peer support groups and one-to-one appointments, we provide a space for carers to share what they are going through.
Over the phone or by appointment in person, carers can share their experiences and feelings with us and we do what we can to support them, such as signposting to relevant services or simply lending an ear. We will use this appointment to explore any challenges that you are facing. We’ll then work alongside you to create a plan that is tailored to your needs, and we'll help you put it into action.
Our peer support groups happen every month and are focused on different caring roles: Carers supporting someone with Dementia, Carers supporting someone with a Mental Health condition, and Carers supporting someone with a Learning Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, including carers who care for children with additional needs. Within these groups, we share experiences and tools to cope. We also have particular and specialist discussions and guest speakers.
Our weekly mindfulness sessions focus on building resilience and help guide our awareness and focus. They are led by an experienced coach, meditation, and mindfulness guide Aryanisha. Mindfulness can help us control intrusive thoughts and manage our emotions easier during periods of stress or intense emotion.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that unpaid carers were faced with many new challenges, often placing a strain on their own mental health and wellbeing. In response to this, the Better Mental Health Fund enabled Carers' Hub to offer additional wellbeing activities for carers in Lambeth.
Get Involved yourself
If you are wanting to try new things, expand your social circle or need help getting out of the house, we will be continuing our weekly online mindfulness practices, in addition to arranging activities outdoors, with a focus on getting outside in the warmer months and light exercise.
If you would like to get involved in any of the activities mentioned here, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We know that life can be busy, that’s why it is important to try to dedicate some time to think about yourself. Below you can find some tips and links to other organisations, helping you to foster your own mental wellbeing and making sure your own needs are met in addition to helping someone else.
Five Ways to Wellbeing
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are based on research from the New Economics Foundation and are practical ways for us to look after our mental health and wellbeing. You can find more information on the NHS website.
Connect: Humans are naturally social creatures. Talking releases endorphin chemicals in the brain that help us feel happier and more connected. Why not call a friend on the phone or arrange to meet, or speak to someone at Carers’ Hub. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter to attend events like coffee mornings and wellbeing activities, to connect with other carers in the community.
Be active: Exercise helps release stress, improves sleep, and can improve feelings of anxiety and depression. The NHS Live Well webpage has useful guidelines on exercise for all mobilities
Learn new skills: The brain is a muscle, and so learning new skills helps keep it active and healthy. Learning a new skill or hobby can also help you feel more confident. The National Careers Service signposts a number of different practical online courses that are free, and you can check out activities happening through the Carers’ Hub, for example, we are hosting a number of creative workshops this summer.
Give to others: As a carer, you spend a lot of your time giving to other people which can be rewarding in itself. Doing things unexpectedly for others can help foster feelings of happiness in ourselves, for example sending a surprise card to a friend who is supportive of us, or surprising a loved one with flowers.
Take notice: You have probably heard of mindfulness, which basically means learning to experience the moment. Taking a moment to pause and experience our current state can help boost concentration, and attention, and reduce stress. The next time you are making a cup of tea or doing the washing up, pause and think about how you feel right at that moment. The BBC also lists these 10 mindfulness practices. At Carers’ Hub, you can join our online mindfulness sessions every Wednesday morning from 10:15 to 11 am.
For more practical support
Visit the NHS free your mind website at https://nhsfreeyourmind.co.uk/ and if you are struggling or are feeling overwhelmed you can speak to your GP.
The Living Well Network Alliance supports people in Lambeth who are experiencing mental illness or distress. Find out about self-help, how to get crisis support, talking therapies, and who to contact if you need more support than your GP can provide at: www.lambethtogether.net/living-well-network-alliance/get-help
If you are finding life too difficult, are struggling to cope, or are thinking about suicide, you can call Samaritans on 116 123, https://www.samaritans.org/
If you have any questions about prioritising your mental health or about our programme for 2022, please email us at email@example.com