Mental health carers’ wellbeing and social and economic participation

Stream: Experiences and wellbeing of unpaid carers
Date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Time: 10.55 am – 12.35 pm

Abstract

Carers often play a significant role in the support and recovery of people living with mental illness. Previous research has shown that this support can come at a cost to the carer, with many mental health carers reporting poor health and wellbeing outcomes. Caring for a family member or friend can also impact a carer’s ability to participate in paid employment. While the amount of hours spent caring can affect carers’ ability to participate in the labour force, carers have also cited lack of employer flexibility and lack of understanding of their caring role as a barrier to employment. This is particularly the case for mental health carers who regularly encounter stigma or lack of awareness regarding mental illness.

This presentation seeks to further explore the health and wellbeing and employment outcomes of mental health carers in New South Wales (NSW), drawing on data from a statewide survey of 1,800 carers across NSW conducted between May and July 2018.

Implications for findings with regard to mental health carers’ social and economic participation are discussed, and suggestions are made for how we can improve the support available to mental health carers.

Authors

Grace Cherrington (Presenter), Carers NSW
Grace Cherrington is a policy officer working within the Policy and Research Team at Carers NSW. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science majoring in Gender Studies from Macquarie University. She has an interest in gender theory, social policy and family and friend carers.

Zoi Triandafilidis, Carers NSW
Dr Zoi Triandafilidis is a researcher working across two not-for-profit organisations in Sydney, Australia. She worked with Carers NSW between December 2017 until May 2019 and completed her PhD at Western Sydney University in 2018. Zoi’s thesis examined young women’s constructions and experiences of cigarette smoking. She has an interest in women’s health, qualitative and mixed-methods research, mental health, family and friend carers, and knowledge translation.