A nationwide campaign is being launched to help recognise and support professional and informal carers across the UK.
The #ReachOutAndHelpOut campaign has been launched following research, conducted this month, which found that most carers are only occasionally asked about their own wellbeing – leaving them in danger of being forgotten when it comes to mental health.
According to the findings, when questioned, 40% of respondents said they only asked carers how they were doing ‘now and again’, while 12.4% said ‘rarely’ and a further 6.4% said that they ‘almost never’ asked carers about their own wellbeing – suggesting almost 60% of people tend to overlook carers themselves.
The study, commissioned by Sentai, a British technology start-up using artificial intelligence and augmented voice technology to help the elderly live more independently in their own homes, surveyed 2,000 people from across the UK in a bid to understand carers’ mental health in the wake of Mental Health Awareness Day.
View the video below to find out more about the campaign.
In addition to the lack of checking in on carers, the results also revealed that 68% of people believe they should reach out to carers more often, while 36% of respondents believed the carers they know would only open up about how they are feeling ‘if prompted’. Furthermore, 40% revealed they think the carers they know struggle with loneliness.
Philip Marshman, founder of Sentai and orchestrator of the campaign, said: “World Mental Health Day on October 10 generated a lot of positive conversations about the topic, but these conservations need to continue. Our findings serve to highlight the vulnerability of our carers, who have been valiantly firefighting to protect the wellbeing of others over the past seven months, without it being reciprocated as much as it could be – leaving their wellbeing at risk of being forgotten about.”
He continued: “That’s why we’ve launched #ReachOutAndHelpOut, an initiative to support our professional and personal carers in the UK.”
Others in the care industry have voiced their support for the campaign, including Dr Stephen Ladyman, founder of Oak Retirement, said: “Carers are a vital part of the fabric of society, doing an essential role that’s often unrecognised or undervalued by wider society. Of late, we’ve seen increased recognition for the contribution that those working in care make – but the fact remains that many carers sometimes feel neglected. It’s all too easy to ask how the recipient of care is, without then asking the carer how they themselves are feeling. #ReachOutAndHelpOut has an important message at its heart, and we hope it inspires people to look at carers in a fresh light.”
Shaleeza Hasham, founder of the Adopt a Grandparent scheme and head of hospitality at home care provider, CHD Living, said: “When we launched Adopt a Grandparent, we were all about creating connections between those in need. #ReachOutAndHelpOut is very much in that vein, but this time focusing on the carers themselves rather than those who are receiving care.”
Sentai’s study also asked respondents ‘What do you think would make the biggest difference in a carer’s day?’ to which 57% said ‘a break from caring (respite)’ would make the biggest difference.
With that in mind, Sentai has liaised with Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa near Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, to offer a stay to a deserving carer. Those who know of someone, can nominate a carer for the stay via www.sentai.ai/reachout.
Marshman commented: “A break from caring can make all the difference when it comes to recharging and reinvigorating how you feel – both physically and mentally. While we sadly can’t offer all carers a break, we’ve created the opportunity for one deserving carer.”
Those who want to get involved in the movement can share their stories of reaching out on social media to inspire others, using the hashtag #ReachOutAndHelpOut.