Embracing carers survey uncovers challenges facing UK carers

December 6, 2017

A third of UK carers do not seek medical support for a mental health condition, according to the Embracing Carers™ survey.

Merck has announced the UK results of the Embracing Carers™ international survey, highlighting the often-overlooked needs of unpaid carers. The findings from the survey coincide with the launch of a new global initiative, Embracing Carers™. Led by Merck and guided by Carers UK and other leading international carer organisations, Embracing Carers™ aims to raise awareness of the crucial role of carers in the lives of individuals.

The Embracing Carers™ International Survey questioned 3,516 unpaid carers across seven countries (UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, US and Australia), with the UK accounting for 503 responses.

The results found that:

  • More than half (54%) of the unpaid carers in the UK don’t have time to book or attend medical appointments for themselves.
  • Additionally, 3 in 10 (30%) of those surveyed felt they needed medical help or support for a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or stress due to their role as an unpaid carer but had not sought medical help.
  • Specifically, more than 57% of the respondents in the UK felt they had experienced feelings of depression.

Helena Herklots, Chief Executive, Carers UK, said, 'The results from the Embracing Carers™ International Survey revealed the extent of the impact caring has on carers’ health and wellbeing in the UK. Carers are spending so much time putting the health of their loved ones before their own, they simply don’t have the time to look after themselves. We welcome the launch of the Embracing Carers™ initiative as we must all work together to advance access to resources and, ultimately, improve the lives of carers both in the UK and around the world.'

Additional survey findings from the UK include:

  • More than half (55%) of unpaid carers do not feel supported at all by the Government in their role as an unpaid carer.
  • Nearly two-thirds (61%) found it hard to sleep on a regular basis, and just over three-quarters (76%) reported feeling tired most of the time.

Embracing Carers™ is a multi-year global initiative to help provide better support and recognition of carers in the UK and around the world. As its first steps, it has undertaken to:

  • Support the carer infrastructure by making possible the International Alliance of Carer Organizations’ (IACO) Carer Toolkit, providing countries without a carer infrastructure the information to develop a national carer organisation.
  • Convene carer organisations from across the world to serve as strategic advisers in increasing support and recognition of carers.
  • Develop calls to action to broaden stakeholder engagement, increase global awareness of challenges, drive legislative action and engage with healthcare systems.

Earlier this year, Carers UK reported that UK carers are reaching breaking point.

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