It’s Carers Week and a particularly important period to express thanks to all unpaid carers across the UK. Carers Week is an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the invaluable contribution made by all unpaid carers across the country. In the UK, the number of those caring for a loved one with disabilities, mental or physical illnesses is on the rise, currently reaching a sum of approximately 7 million people.
This year, Carers Week takes place from 10th June to 16th June and it is an opportunity for charities and organisations across the country to praise all those who dedicate their lives to caring for someone. For many, this is just a way of life and not necessarily a carer’s reality. As a result, many individuals tend not to seek any external help as they may assume it is their duty as a parent, child, grandchild or friend to look after their loved ones. This can have a negative impact on an individual’s mental wellbeing as it can socially isolate them and cause feelings of loneliness.
Unpaid caring can vary in a number of aspects: from carers’ ages to loved ones’ particular needs and, consequently, the level of care given. It can happen suddenly after the birth of a child or a severe accident; similarly, it can also increase over time as loved ones age.
According to information from Carers Trust, in the UK carers currently make an economic contribution equivalent to £132bn a year. With 45% of young adult carers and 65% of older carers reported with cases of mental health issues, and more than half of young carers reporting bullying, Carers Week is an opportunity to raise awareness and create a greater sense of understanding around these people’s realities. Most importantly, it is a chance to recognise carers’ never-ending efforts and reassure them that they are never alone.