When someone that you love or care for is struggling with mental health difficulties, it can be difficult to know where to start; where to go to better understand mental health problems, how to ask for and get the support for the person you care for, and how to better manage practical matters such as finances.
This page offers an outline of the information relating to being a carer of someone who has mental health difficulties, giving information relating to your caring role. If you can't find what you're looking for here, have a look at our page 'Support for You', which offers more information about how you specifically - as a carer - can better look after your own mental health and wellbeing, and what self-help techniques and services are avaliable to you.
The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove
For more information and services relating to being a carer, we recommend that you contact The Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove on 01273 746222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you concerned about someone else's mental health?
If you've never experienced mental health problems yourself, or if your personal experiences are different from the person that you care for, it may be difficult to understand the problems that the person that you care for is having, making it harder to care for them.
Caring for someone with mental health difficulties can mean different things for different people, and the role that you play may be different depending on the mental health problems of the person that you care for. If the person that you care for has been given a particular diagnosis, learning more about it is often a good starting-point to help you in your caring role. National Mind provide a comprehensive guide to Helping Someone Else, with advice about specific diagnosis's and how friends and family that can help support that person. Below are a couple of factsheets that overview common mental health problems if you are interested in understanding more about mental health problems, or are concerned about someone's mental health.
This booklet is an introduction to the most common mental health problems, explaining what they are, their possible causes and what help is available. It is written for people who have a mental health problem, and their friends and family
This factsheet will try to help if you are concerned that a loved one, friend or relative may need professional help.
When Someone you care for feels suicidal
Supporting someone who feels suicidal and/or is having suicidal thoughts can be a distressing experience for both the person experiencing these thoughts and feelings and for those in position of care. The following booklet is a useful resource for those dealing with a loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings. If you think that a loved one is in urgent need for support, please refers to our Crisis Services page. The following Fact Sheet, produced by National Mind, offers advice about how to support someone who feels suicidal, and practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.
This booklet explains how to support someone who feels suicidal, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support..
Speaking with Care Providers and Social Workers
Sometimes, as a carer, it can be difficult to communicate effectively with Care Providers and Social Workers in order to get the support that you and the person that you care for needs. It is also helpful, when there is so much to think about in your role, to have a checklist to help you. Below you will find a couple of useful resources that you may find useful:
Carers may not always find out what they need to know about the person they are caring for. This checklist is designed to help you get all the information you need about the diagnosis and treatment of the person you care for.
Carers may not know what help to ask for, how to ask, or indeed who to ask. Self-advocacy means enabling a person to get their own voice heard. This guide details how to understand 'the system', how to communicate effectively and how to do this whilst experiencing the emotions and thoughts that carers often have.
Caring for someone with mental health difficulties can impact you financially, if, for example, you have to reduce the hours you work, or pay out a little more in travel costs, or food bills. Mind in Brighton and Hove are unable to offer financial advice, but there are several ways of accessing financial support as a carer in the UK, and we have listed below some organisations who offer advice and support in accessing financial assistance.
If caring for an adult has a significant impact on your life you can request a Carers Assessment from the council. This is separate from any assessment of the person you care for. This is an assessment to see what help and support you may need as a carer, and you can do this even if the person you care for refuses assistance for themselves.
Once you have had a Carers Assessment, the council may be able to help you access a range of support. The council will take the finances of the person you care for into account when deciding how much they will charge for these services. You may be able to access financial support for these services through a Carers Grant (see below), or a charitable grant. In some cases, you may be able to receive the money directly, in order to purchase the service yourself - this is known as direct payments.
If you are caring for an adult, you can request a Carers Assessment by contacting Access Point on 01273 295555, e-mailing email@example.com, or filling out the online application form here.
If you are caring for a child, you can contact the Children's Disability Service for more information on 01273 265825.
A Carers Grant is a one-off sum of money paid to carers by the council. This money is not a loan - you do not have to pay it back. Not everyone is entitled to this money - carers are assessed by the council to see if they are eligible. The money is intended to support you as a carer, and is intended to be flexible, as each person has individual needs.
Carers Allowance and other benefits
There is an allowance paid by the government to some full-time carers, called Carers Allowance. There are other benefits you may be eligible for as well. Mind in Brighton and Hove does not offer benefits advice. However, we can signpost you to other organisations who may be able to help, or you can go to www.advicebrighton-hove.org.uk/get-advice for info on local services.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to know about other services that may be able to help, or take a look at our online directory.
Money and Debt advice
If you are struggling with money and debt because of your caring responsibilities, then there are some services who offer advice and support:
- National Debtline - this service offers advice and information on debt issues. They have factsheets on their website, as well as offering live webchat, and a telephone helpline: 0808 8084000 (open Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-1pm).
- Step Change - this is a national service offering advice and information on debt and money. They have an online debt remedy tool, as well as a telephone helpline - 0800 138 1111 (open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm).
- Christians against Poverty (CAP) Brighton and Hove - this service is available to everyone, regardless of faith and religion. They offer debt counselling at your home, or a local centre or church. They can liaise with your creditors and provide practical support to manage your debt. They also run a range of money courses in Brighton and Hove. For further information, contact them on 0800 328 0006 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, please visit www.advicebrighton-hove.org.uk/get-advice for information on local services.
Managing someone's financial affairs.
Sometimes, as a carer, you may need to advice and information about how to manage someone else's financial affairs - how to approach this from both a practical and legal perspective. the following factsheet is a useful resource for carers in this position, published by national mental health charity Rethink. This factsheet also covers the issue of Power of Attorney.
A person who is unwell may sometimes need someone else to help with their financial affairs. This may be because they are in hospital, cannot cope with their bills or paperwork, or are unable to control their spending. There are a number of different ways that you, as their carer, could help them in relation to their finances. This factsheet explains the different options that are available.