You can access them online in your internet browser or download the new app – when opening select either your local area or the national library.
Search for a condition or treatment, or scroll down the page until you find what you want. Press the button and you’ll be presented with a range of relevant top tips and how-to videos. All videos have been reviewed by NHS Clinicians.
Released for Carers Rights Day 2020, the report ‘Unseen and Undervalued’ from Carers UK highlights the immense value of unpaid carers.
Projections based on YouGov polling indicate that unpaid carers across the UK have provided an incredible £135 billion of care since the start of the pandemic in March. That’s £530 million of care every day! For a full year, at these rates, Carers UK estimates the value of carers’ unpaid support to be equivalent to £193 billion of care a year.
Carers UK are campaigning for the Government to recognise the contribution of millions of carers and also protect their health and wellbeing; by providing additional support for carers over this winter and ensure that those caring for more than 50 hours a week get access to a funded break. It is also calling on the Government to increase the income of carers entitled to Carer’s Allowance by £20 a week, to match the increase made months ago to Universal Credit. This would help carers providing 35 hours or more of unpaid care each week to manage both the higher costs of caring in the winter, and the lack of services available to help them stay in work.
Thursday 26 November 2020 is Carers Rights Day – which is about reaching out to all carers with information, advice and support – as well as raising awareness of their needs. The focus for 2020 is ‘Know Your Rights’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of caring, affecting carers’ access to support and services, and their physical and mental health. Many are caring for the first time, whilst those who’ve been caring for a while are facing greater challenges and pressures than ever before. It’s never been more important for carers to be informed and know their rights.
To find out more about what carers are entitled to, check out the latest Carers UK ‘looking after someone guide’, which gives the full picture of the practical and financial support available to carers.
There are three important steps carers can take to find out about what they may be entitled to:
1. Get a benefits check
Carer’s Allowance is known as the main benefit for carers. But not everyone is eligible to claim it, so it’s a good idea to arrange a benefits check to see what financial support you may be entitled to. You can also use the Turn2us benefits calculator on the Carers UK website.
2. Find out about practical support
A Carer may need practical support – for example short breaks, equipment to help make caring easier, or information about local groups that can help. All carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment from their local council. The assessment will look at how caring affects a carer’s life, including their physical, mental and emotional needs, and if they are able or willing to carry on caring.
3. Connect with other carers
Caring can be isolating. When we’re looking after someone, it’s not always easy to find people who really know what caring is like and are able to give us help and understanding. There are carer support groups across the UK – use the Carers UK’s website directory of local services to find out more.
Many carers also find online forums a huge source of support – a place where carers can share what’s on their mind, anytime of the day or night, with other carers who understand what they are going through.
Carers UK has just released ‘Caring Behind Closed Doors: 6 months on’ – a report based on an online survey of almost 6,000 unpaid carers. This survey looked at the impact of caring on carers’ lives over the first 6 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only has Covid-19 added another estimated 4.5 million new unpaid carers to the 9.1 million carers identified pre-pandemic, it has also increased the amount of care that carers have to give. 81% of carers reported that they were providing more care than pre-pandemic, putting up their caring time from an average of 55 hours a week to 65 hours a week. This increased level of caring responsibility has had a negative effect on carers’ lives, affecting their emotional and physical health, ability to work, and financial situations.
Almost two thirds of carers say that their mental health has worsened as a result of the pandemic with many reporting feeling exhausted and close to breaking point. With winter ahead and the current increase in infections and lockdown measures, this survey shows that many carers have escalating levels of stress and anxiety – not helped by respite care being less available.
The report found some positive points based on innovations in technology, with a few carers appreciating a slower pace of life during lockdown. However the vast majority of unpaid carers have found life significantly more difficult.
Nationally, in England, the model predicts that up to 10 million people (almost 20% of the population) will need either new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the crisis. 1.5 million of those will be children and young people under 18.
About two-thirds of people who will need support already have existing mental health needs, including severe mental illness.
The majority of people will need support for depression or anxiety, or both. Others will need help for trauma symptoms and a range of other difficulties, including complicated grief arising from bereavement and loss.
As further evidence becomes available, the figures may rise: for example when the extent of the unequal effects of the pandemic on Black and minority ethnic communities, on care homes and disabled people becomes clear.
The report recommends that the Government and the NHS must take steps now to prepare. Mental health problems cannot be ignored. A proactive, timely, compassionate and effective response will help people experiencing mental health difficulties before they reach crisis point.
During this online event, hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Mental Health day; you could:
learn how the WHO is helping to improve the mental health of people worldwide
hear from national and international leaders about why they are making mental health a priority
discover internationally-renowned artists who have become mental health advocates and listen to their advice for those who are struggling
listen to critically-acclaimed musicians perform some of their most popular music.
Investment in mental health programmes, at national and international levels, is now more important than it has ever been. Given the WHO’s experience of emergencies, the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Figures released this summer from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that rates of depression have doubled in their survey group during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The figures are based on the number of adults reporting depressive symptoms in Great Britain between 4 and 14 June 2020, based on the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey. This survey revisited the same group of adults both before and during the pandemic and shows how their symptoms of depression have changed over a 12-month period.
Depression is among the most common types of mental disorders and can affect people in different ways, causing a wide variety of symptoms. These symptoms range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things they used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. More information available on the NHS website
The ONS Survey showed that:
Almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020 – this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 (9.7%) before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).
Younger adults – aged 16 to 39 years – were more likely to have moderate to severe depressive symptoms when compared with other ages.
Women were more likely than men to report moderate to severe depressive symptoms, with women having 1.7 times the odds of men reporting these symptoms.
The odds of adults, who could not afford an unexpected but necessary expense of £850, reporting moderate to severe depressive symptoms were around four times greater (4.4) than those able to afford this expense.
The odds of adults, who were classified as disabled reporting moderate to severe depressive symptoms, were six times greater (6.0) than those who were not classed as disabled.
There was an increase in the proportion of working adults experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic – this increase included those working as key workers.
Over two in five (42.2%) adults experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic said their relationships were being affected, compared with one in five (20.7%) adults with no, or mild, depressive symptoms.
To find out more about how COVID-19 is affecting the UK – check out the ONS COVID-19 roundup which is updated as new statistics are released.
These reports look at unpaid carers’ personal experiences during April and May 2020 and found evidence of significant negative outcomes.
Unpaid carers support people who need help to manage everyday activities, usually because of illness, disability or advanced age. Research shows that, even in ‘normal’ times, providing care tends to have negative effects on carer’s lives and, in particular, on their health and financial situations.
Loneliness and the use of services
Lockdown made life even more difficult for carers, who were affected more than most by the restrictions which increased isolation and loneliness.
Many people were unable to access services, both NHS and social care, with carers affected more than others. For example, 9 in 10 carers awaiting an NHS treatment had it postponed or cancelled, compared to 8 in 10 other people.
During the pandemic, the UK Government restrictions included closing many workplaces and introducing the furlough scheme.
This report looks at the impact on carers’ financial wellbeing, their hours of paid work – before and during the pandemic – and their experience of the furlough scheme. Results indicate a lower level of ‘financial wellbeing’ for many carers.
In May 2020, 1.3 million carers felt under a degree of financial pressure – with women aged 31-45 particularly affected. Male carers, and carers aged 17-30, were more likely than others to be on furlough, so carers’ access to paid work and to secure incomes in the months ahead is an issue that may well affect future financial wellbeing, as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment increases.
Before the pandemic about 11% of adults provided care for an elderly, disabled or ill person living outside their household. This compares to the new ONS figures which found that almost half (48%) of UK adults now report providing help or support to someone outside of their household – surveyed during April 2020.
Of the adults who reported providing help , 32% were helping someone who they did not help before the pandemic and 33% reported giving more help to people they helped previously.
In 2017 to 2018, just over 1 in 5 (21%) adults that provided some regular service or help for a sick, disabled or elderly person not living with them reported symptoms of poor mental health. During April this year, among those that provided help or support to others outside their home, this increased to nearly 1 in 3 (31%). For people not providing help or support, the proportion reporting poor mental health also increased from 20% to 29%.
Shopping was the most common activity that people undertook as part of their caring responsibilities (85%). Other support including cooking meals, helping with internet access and helping with tasks like paying bills.
Those aged 45 to 54 were the most likely group to provide support – 60% of this age group reported doing this. Women were more likely than men to provide support, as were those with dependent children.
Between 3 April and 10 May 2020, 79% of adults said they were very or somewhat worried about the effect that coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their life and 11% of these said their caring responsibilities had been affected by the pandemic.
Almost half (47%) who said their caring responsibilities had been affected said they were unable to care for someone they usually supported, for example, by being unable to spend as much time as they would like with them or being unable to travel to them. Nearly 15% also said they had to organise remote support for someone vulnerable and 9% said that paid support had reduced.
New figures released for Carers Week in June 2020 show that an additional 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of COVOID-19. This brings the total of unpaid carers up from 9.1 million, before the outbreak, to a huge new total of 13.6 million – one in four of all adults.
Based on polling carried out by YouGov in May 2020, the research report details this massive increase and the impact on unpaid carers who are providing care to an older, disabled or ill relative or friend.