CALLS to routinely screen carers for signs of depression have been backed by Sunderland Carers’ Centre.
The Royal College of General Practitioners last week claimed one in every 20 patients being seen by GPs is a carer, while 40 per cent will experience psychological distress.
They warned GPs must work harder to ensure the UK’s “invisible army” do not neglect their own health and that early warning signs of mental health issues, as well as physical conditions, are identified and treated.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, gave her support to the proposals, which Sunderland Carers’ Centre say gives them a chance get more carers the help they need.
Graham Burt, chief executive officer at Sunderland Carers’ Centre said: “We know caring for someone can have a big impact on a person’s mental and physical health.
“For many carers, depression can start from feeling isolated and lonely, particularly for those people at the heaviest end of caring.
“We now have a real opportunity to work with the NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group so GP practices can identify carers and refer them on to services like ours.
“Identifying carers as early as possible in their caring journey is important, as it means they are getting access to much needed support earlier, hopefully reducing any stress or depression.
“It can also prevent crises from happening because they are better informed about services and connected with other carers, people who know exactly what they are going through.”
Ian Holliday, head of joint commissioning, NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “Our approach supports the development of the Carers Short Breaks and Opportunities scheme administered by Sunderland Carers’ Centre and supported by the Local Authority and Health.
“The scheme now includes the development of services for young carers in collaboration with children’s services and an enhanced understanding of the short-break needs of parents of disabled children.
“The scheme has been a tremendous success to date, and in the last year, 99 per cent of carers taking part said their involvement alleviated stress and felt it was easier to carry on with their caring roles.
“In respect of carers of people with dementia, the provision of psychological therapies enables them to care for longer and supports wellbeing. The approach funds a psychological therapist specifically to engage with carers identified through the recently developed Memory Protection Service and local secondary care mental health services.”
Carer’s celebrate anniversary of new home
CARERS gathered at the group’s Thompson Park home to celebrate the building’s first anniversary.
The new Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Stuart and Marie Porthouse, joined staff at the centre in Thompson Road to cut a specially made cake to mark the occasion.
It was the pair’s first engagement since being elected to the posts on Wednesday.
Graham Burt, chief executive officer at Sunderland Carers’ Centre, said: “Whoever comes into the centre can’t fail to be impressed by this fantastic resource we have here for carers.
“We often get comments about how welcoming and bright the building is, and this is exactly what we want for carers: a place they can call their own and they want to keep coming back to.”
Councillor Porthouse said: “The purpose of today’s event is to raise funds to help Sunderland Carers’ Centre carry on with the fantastic work that you all do.”
He added: “Sunderland Carers’ Centre has been based here at Thompson Park for a year now and has settled in very well.
“Carers have commented that the building is easily accessible, warm and welcoming, amongst lots of positive comments.”