World Mental Health Day Continued: Help Us Support Carers Across the UK

Are you a caregiver, or do you know someone who works in care?

 

Whether you’ve been working on the frontline during the height of the pandemic, or you’re supporting those who do, at Sentai, we’d like to offer you a tip of the hat.

 

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen healthcare workers put their lives on the line to help those in need. The team at Sentai know that it’s more important than ever that we recognise the health and wellbeing needs of those working in care – and not just on World Mental Health Day, which was recognised across the UK on 10th October, 2020.

That’s why we’ve launched a nationwide campaign, #ReachOutAndHelpOut, to raise awareness of and support professional and personal carers across the UK, who have selflessly sacrificed so much for others throughout the pandemic.

 

The term ‘carer’ covers a broad spectrum, and whether the person is a young carer, parent carer, care home worker, hospital worker, or home care worker, our #ReachOutAndHelpOut initiative aims to help connect caregivers with others, by encouraging people to reach out to them. That could be to check that they’re OK and offer support, or to simply acknowledge the value of the job they’re doing.

 

We began planning our campaign following research we conducted into the health of caregivers; which showed most carers are only occasionally asked about their wellbeing. This leaves them in danger of being forgotten amongst the haze of our current crisis, particularly 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. Worryingly, this suggests almost 60% of people tend to overlook carers themselves.

 

With many carers facing an extremely difficult time and at risk of being overwhelmed by the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s set to be an emotionally and mentally challenging winter for carers – so support for them is needed more than ever.

Amongst our research, and in anticipation of the upcoming Mental Health Awareness Day, we surveyed 2,000 people from across the UK – all of whom know someone who cares for somebody else, either on a personal/family level or professionally. 

 

The results showed that caregivers are neglected all too often from a health perspective. They 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.

 

It was World Mental Health Day on October 10th, and at Sentai, whilst we were pleased to see that there were plenty of positive conversations about the topic. 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.

 

So Reach Out…

 

Whether it’s the offer of respite, food deliveries, or just a simple message to thank them or ask how they are in themselves, we’re encouraging those who know a carer to reach out and connect with them over the coming months. It’s easy to call a carer and ask how the recipient of care is; but try not to forget the carer themselves.

 

Others in the care industry have voiced their support for the campaign, including Dr Stephen Ladyman, founder of Oak Retirement and former Minister of Health responsible for Social Care, who said: “Carers are a vital part of the fabric of society, doing an essential role that’s often unrecognised or undervalued. Of late, we’ve seen increased recognition for the contribution that those working in care make – but the fact remains that many carers are 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 care home and 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. For carers, who are givers by nature, it’s all too easy to forget about their own wellbeing, so I hope that this campaign will give people pause for thought and make them check-in on carers too to see if they’re OK.”

…And Help Out

Our 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, we’ve been speaking 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 https://sentai.ai/reachout. 

 

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. All you need to do is nominate them on sentai.ai and we’ll pick a winner.

 

Alternatively, if you’d like to get involved with our campaign, we invite you to share your story of reaching out on social media to inspire others, using the hashtag #ReachOutAndHelpOut on our Twitter (@i_am_sentai), Facebook (Sentai.smart.device), and Instagram (sentai_ai) feeds.