Carers at high risk of mental health issues

Informal carers who provide essential support for friends and family with disabling conditions are at high risk of developing mental health issues according to research being presented at the 48th APS Annual Conference in Cairns this week.

A survey of carers conducted by Deakin University as part of the 2007 Australian Unity Wellbeing Index found that as many as 37% reported experiencing severe to extremely severe symptoms of depression and stress. Caring for long periods of time, supporting multiple family members or children, and assisting someone with multiple medical conditions or a mental illness were associated with the lowest wellbeing scores and increased severity of symptoms.

Researchers say the results reflect the current lack of support available to Australia’s 2.6 million informal carers, and that counselling services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be crucial in resolving the problem.

Read more at Deakin University