If you’re a carer or you look after someone, there’s practical, financial, and emotional support available to you from a range of local communities and national organisations.
It may be that you’re supporting the health and wellbeing of a family member or friend, who is living with a challenging condition, disability, or needs help adjusting to life at home after an illness.
Watch our video to see carers talking about their roles.
We want you to feel supported and informed, so that you can take care of yourself as well as the person you care for. We’ve created a Friends, Family, and Carers Charter which sets out our pledge to promote a culture of supporting and working in partnership with carers.
Looking after yourself is just as important as looking after the person you care for. Don’t leave your health to get worse before seeking help. Taking ten minutes to yourself to go for a walk, chat with friends, or playing sports and games, can help relieve stress and make you feel more active.
Tips for staying well
- Talk to your GP. Let your GP know you are a carer so they understand your responsibilities. If your role makes it difficult to go to appointments, ask family and friends for help, or take the person you are caring for with you if they can’t be left unattended.
- Ask others for help. See if family and friends can help with things like shopping or staying with the person you look after so you can go out for a short time. Make everyone aware of your commitments.
- Get information and advice. Find out what practical, financial, and emotional support is available to you. Search to find any local carers support groups or services in your area. Talking to others with similar carer experiences can help. We have included links on this page.
- Check if you qualify for any benefits. Caring can affect your finances especially if you need to give up work or reduce hours. Unpaid carers on low incomes may be entitled to benefits, such as Carers Allowance.
Visit Carers UK website for advice on financial support (open new browser tab)
- Manage sleep problems. A lack of good restful sleep can affect your energy and concentration levels, making it difficult to carry out your caring role. You can improve restful sleep by changing lighting levels, exercising, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and doing something calming before bed. Speak to your GP if you have trouble sleeping.
Visit NHS website to read more about improving sleep (open new browser tab)
- Eat Well. Shopping and meal planning are important for good nutrition and a healthy daily routine. Fresh fruit and nuts are great for quick snacks. Eat regularly, and don’t postpone meals.
Visit NHS Eat Well webpage (open new browser tab)
- Regular exercise. Research shows that regular physical activity can improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of sleep. Good physical fitness, strength, and flexibility reduces the risk of physical injury and fatigue from the demands of caring.
Visit Get Berkshire Active for advice on staying active at home (open new browser tab)
- Talk to your employer about your situation. Understanding your rights as an employee can help you decide how much support you need, and how much flexibility you have at work.
The Care Act 2014 gives a bigger say to people who receive care and support or look after someone as a carer.
Read our FAQ leaflet (pdf)
Visit NHS website to read about social care and support guides (opens new browser tab)
Visit NHS website to read about support and benefits for carers (opens new browser tab)
As a carer, you could be entitled to support from your local authority social services.
You can contact them to request a Carers Assessment. Read our carer signpost guides to find local support across Berkshire.
Mental Health conditions and treatment
If you or the person you’re caring for need urgent help, contact your GP or call NHS 111.
Call 111 (free)
You can use the NHS website to find out more about a condition, including advice on support and treatment.
Visit the NHS website (opens new browser tab)
Visit the NHS Interactive Tools (opens new browser tab)
NHS Talking Therapies
If you’re struggling with the emotional impact of your caring role, Talking Therapies Berkshire can help you find ways to cope. Our service is open to adults of all ages, and referrals for people aged over 65 are especially welcomed.
Visit the Talking Therapies website (opens new browser tab)
Call Samaritans 116 123
Email Samaritan email@example.com
Visit the Samaritans website for 24/7 emotional support (opens new browser tab)
Text SHOUT on 85258
Visit the Mental Health Foundation website (opens new browser tab)
Visit the Mind.org.uk website (opens new browser tab)
Visit the Healthtalk.org (opens new browser tab)
If you need or someone you care for needs help, you can find a list of our services and how to get a referral on our website:
Help improve our services
As a carer, you’ll have first-hand experience of how our services support our patients. You may also have suggestions about how we can improve. We use co-production to bring together people who use our mental health services, their carers and professionals, to improve our services.
Use our feedback form to share your views.
Open the online Friends, Family, and Carers feedback form (opens new browser tab)
The Triangle of Care is a therapeutic alliance between our service users, staff and carers that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains wellbeing.
We’ve been awarded two stars which shows our commitment to working in partnership with service users, friends, families and carers.
The principles set out in the Triangle of Care are reflected in our Carers Charter and our strategy.
Visit the carers.org website to find out about Triangle of Care (opens new browser tab)