Emotional and mental wellbeing
As a carer the strain on your emotional and/or mental wellbeing can be immense, but support is available.
You should make an appointment to see your GP if you've been feeling down or depressed or your anxiety is having an impact on your daily life.
Emotional health is about how you're feeling and how well you can cope with your day to day life.
Many things can affect your emotional wellbeing, including loneliness, physical illness, poor housing conditions, poverty as well as the stress and responsibility of your caring role.
You can often improve your emotional wellbeing by making lifestyle changes. Evidence suggests there are five practical steps you can take to improve your emotional health:
- connect - if possible, spend time with friends, family and colleagues so avoid feeling lonely and isolated
- be active - try and find something you enjoy that keeps you active and fit. Improved physical health can have a positive effect on how you feel
- keep learning - learning new skills or doing a course can give you confidence and give you a sense of achievement
- give to others - unpaid carers do this anyway, but small things such as smiling at someone or doing them a favour can make you feel good about yourself and boost confidence
- take notice - being more aware of the present moment and your feelings and thoughts can help you to positively change how you feel about life.
You can find further advice by visiting:
- The Derbyshire County website – emotional health
- NHS website – 5 steps to improve mental wellbeing
- NHS Moodzone – self assessment quiz and self help suggestions
- Young Minds – support for young people with emotional health problems
Derbyshire Voluntary Action have a directory of community groups and activities that can support you to improve your emotional/mental wellbeing.
Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have a recovery and wellbeing section on their website that has lots of helpful advice and tips.
If your emotional health is suffering sue to your caring role it can often be helpful to talk to other carers in a similar situation. The carers directory has details of local support groups and social activities for carers.
If you struggle to get out of the house but would like to connect with other carers, you could try an online group or forum.
Counselling is a person taking a professional interest in your emotional wellbeing. They work to a strict code of ethics that has your interests at heart. There are different kinds of counselling available - you can find out more on the NHS website.
Most counsellors will charge for their time and can be comparatively expensive but will be trained to work with you and your psychological state closely.
If you think relationship or family issues are contributing to your emotional wellbeing problems, you may be able to get counselling services from Relate:
- North Derbyshire Relate can be contacted on tel: 01246 231010
- Derby and South Derbyshire service on tel: 01332 349177
More common mental health problems include symptoms of anxiety, worry, depression and panic. Less common mental health problems can affect your perception of reality, including feeling, seeing and hearing things that aren't there.
If you've had thoughts of self-harming, feeling suicidal or are experiencing any other sort of crisis situation, contact someone immediately such as your GP, a friend, a relative or someone else you can trust.
If you are a carer and suffer from mental ill health it is a good idea to have a carers emergency plan in place in case your health declines and you are temporarily unable to carry out your caring role.
Independent Age has developed a Guide to Dealing with Depression. Although the guide is aimed at older people, the advice and information is also relevant to carers and younger people in general.
Mental health problems often need professional support. In some cases it may be helpful to have medication prescribed by your GP.
However, many people benefit from talking therapies such as counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There are three providers of talking therapies in Derbyshire:
- Insight Healthcare - tel: 0300 555 5582
- Talking Mental Health - tel: 0300 123 0542
- Trent Psychological Therapies Service tel: 01332 265 659
Other helpful websites and pages
- The Mental Health Foundation podcasts
- Derbyshire County Council - mental health
- Derbyshire Mind
- Counselling directory
- Caring for someone with mental health issues
- Time to Change
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