EUFAMI, the European Federation of Associations of Familiesof People with Mental Illness, has published the results of its Caring forCarers (C4C) survey which provides a global overview and deeper insight intothe experience of family carers, the burdens and stigma they face, their needsand necessities as well as their strengths and support strategies.
It is widely understood that family caregivers play acentral role in the care of a person with severe mental illness. Recent reformsin mental health care, particularly in developed countries, are seeing agradual move away from hospital-based care to more community-based care, andtherefore the demands on family caregivers have increased considerably. Overthe past decade there has been some scientific survey-based research datadocumenting the carer burden. The research is limited, not recent, and oftenbased on single-country samples.
The Caring for Carers Survey (C4C) was designed specificallyto address this ‘evidence gap’: to assess the experiences of family caregiversin caring for their relative with severe mental illness, from an internationalperspective. The study was conducted by LUCAS, the Centre for Care Research andConsultancy of the University of Leuven, Belgium, in cooperation with theEuropean Federation of Families of People with Mental Illness (EUFAMI).
The first of its kind, the survey was undertaken in 22countries and received over 1,000 responses 3, the majority (64%) ofwhich were from those caring for people with schizophrenia/ psychosis. Theresearch provides a truly global overview and deeper insight into theexperience of family carers, the burdens and stigma they face, their needs andnecessities, their strengths and support strategies.
The generalaim of this study is reflected in three main research questions, which assessthe experiences of family caregivers and highlight the central role they play:
1. What arethe caregiving experiences of family caregivers, including their well-being,burden, strengths and perceived stigma?
2. Howsatisfied are family caregivers with the professional support they receive?
3. What arethe needs for further support of family caregivers?
You can read the findings of the survey here: http://www.caringformentalhealth.org/index.html#section14
The study has also broken down its findingscountry-by-country. The study finds that the typical family caregiver for aperson with severe mental illness in the UK is a woman, 60 years old, caringfor her child with severe mental illness for an average of 16 years.
Read the UK report here: http://www.hafal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/UK-FINAL-10-July-15.pdf