A carer is a person who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to physical illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without support. Currently 10% of the population identifies themselves as unpaid carers with over 6.5 million carers in the UK. Of these, 84,000 are in West Sussex.
The pressures of caring can take its toll on carers' physical and mental health. A survey in 20121 found that 83% of carers said caring had a negative impact on their physical health and 87% said it had a negative impact on their mental health. The general health of carers deteriorates incrementally as the hours of care provided increases.2 Out of all carers caring for more than 50 hours a week, one third reported depression, half reported disturbed sleep and a quarter reported back and other strain.3 The detrimental impact of caring on health is often exacerbated by carers putting their own needs last and delaying medical appointments and treatment.1