9 Nov 2018

Unpaid carers suffer high levels of anxiety and depression - study

11:29 am on 9 November 2018

Research shows there is high distress among New Zealand's carers.

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Photo: 123RF

In New Zealand, it is estimated that 480,000 people provide regular care for someone who is ill or disabled, often unpaid and provided by family and friends.

A paper published in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows these informal carers are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.

The paper said more support was needed if the health system was to continue relying on unpaid carers.

About 65 percent of people providing informal care in New Zealand were also in paid employment, and being a carer had financial ramifications.

The study reported data from 48 people who were interviewed over the phone or in person, made up of 35 women and 13 men.

Their ages varied from 41 to 92 and the carers' ages ranged from 60 to 96.

They were most often a spouse or parent.

Thirty-four percent of their carers had depression and 36 percent had anxiety.

The study found caring restricted their personal and social lives and compromised their physical and emotional health.

"In conclusion, this research suggests that in New Zealand carers experience elevated levels of anxiety and depression and at significant personal cost are motivated to care for their family member out of love," the report said.

It said future research to trial methods of support would be helpful.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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