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Fact sheet

Caring for All Carers

Carers are not an homogenous group and will different needs that will be best met through a variety of services. This is acutely obvious with carers from BME communities where there may be cultural and religious requirements that need to be considered.

Carers Trust's legacy organisations The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care, commissioned by The Department of Health, undertook a scoping exercise with Carers Trust's Network Partners to establish how they are engaging with BME and seldom heard communities and what services they are providing. The report, Caring For All Carers, identifies six examples of good practice and contains recommendations for further action and suggestions for resources.

Carers Trust is working on an action plan generated by the recommendations from the report and are committed to further joint developmental work with BME carers’ organisations. The aim of the work is to improve carers’ services to all

BME and seldom heard carers but also to consider the specific needs of families where someone has a learning disability.

Download the Caring for All Carers report (539 KB) (539 KB)

Key issues for a selection of carer groups are outlined below:

Young carers

Around 3 million children in the UK have a family member with a mental or physical illness, disability or substance misuse problem, although not all take on an inappropriate caring role. Young carers often don’t want to stop caring altogether but they do want to have a life - to study, to have time with friends and have the same opportunities as others do.

Agencies and professionals who work with children and young people must raise awareness of and recognition for the role, needs and circumstances of young carers.

For more information, visit our area for all professionals working with young carers and our site for young carers

Mental Health

Overall, there are up to 1.5 million people in the UK caring for a relative or friend with mental health problem. This means that 1 in 4 carers are mental health carers.

The unpredictable impact of some mental health conditions on a person’s behaviour and wellbeing can undermine carers’ ability to work or plan for the future. Carers also must often deal with the risk of the person cared for attempting suicide, making caring a distressing and draining process. Despite these issues, the stigma surrounding mental illness can make it very difficult for carers to receive consistent support. Mental health carers often report feeling ‘shut out’ of the treatment process, and not being offered appropriate information about conditions or treatments to be able to care safely and effectively.

For more information, read our Triangle of Care report (681 KB)

Learning Disability

Around 2% of the UK population have a learning disability, approximately 1.2 million people. While many adults with a learning disability live fully independent lives, a significant proportion are supported by families and carers. In England, it is estimated that over half of all adults with a learning disability are supported by family carers across all age ranges. In addition, there are many parent carers of children and adolescents with learning disabilities.

Carers for people with learning disabilities can often struggle to find appropriate services for the people they care for. Carers must often work closely with schools, employers and health and social care staff to ensure the person with learning disabilities is appropriately involved and supported.

Substance Misuse carers

The Home Office estimates there are around 380,000 “problem drug users” in the UK. Most individuals in this category will impact on their families and communities. These carers may not be included in current estimates of carers nationally.
Carers of people with substance misuse problems are not currently receiving their legal rights to recognition, assessment and services.

These carers often face distinct challenges such as coming into contact with illegal behaviour, being the target of thefts, and the safety aspects of drug paraphernalia in the house. In addition, another difficult aspect of being a carer for someone with substance misuse problems can be that there are often multiple diagnoses to deal with, such as mental ill health. This can add to the difficulty of caring for the person, including carers needing to attend two or three agencies, which specialise in each area of care separately.

Read the UK Drug Policy Commission’s report on carers of people misusing substances.

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