To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the trends the the level of (a)health and (b) wellbeing of unpaid carers; and what plans his Department has put in place to support carers with poor mental health.
NHS Digital’s Personal Social Services Survey of Adult Carers in England is a national survey that seeks opinions of carers aged 18 or over supported by local authorities. In 2016/17 a question was added to the survey to examine the impact on carers’ health.
Results showed that nearly 20% of carers reported that in the last 12 months, their health had been adversely affected by their caring role and made an existing condition worse.
The carers survey asks a range of questions linked to carers’ wellbeing. Its main overarching measure of wellbeing is carer-reported quality of life. In 2016-17, carer-reported quality of life score was 7.7 out of 12 in England. This is calculated by combining individual responses to six questions asked in the survey on occupation, control, personal care, safety, social participation and encouragement and support of carers. This measure has been falling over time from 8.1 in 2012-13, to 7.9 in 2014-15 to 7.7 in 2016-17.
The Department will monitor these figures as a time series develops in future years.
The Government is committed to continuing to support carers to provide care as they would wish, and to do so in a way that supports their own health and wellbeing, employment and other life chances. On 5 June, the Government published the Carers Action Plan which sets out a cross-Government programme of targeted work to support carers over the next two years.
National Health Service mental health services are available for people with poor mental health, including carers, with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme providing treatment for adult anxiety disorders and depression in England. One IAPT service for in North Somerset has helped more than 500 carers with therapy and support since launching three years ago.
The Carers Action Plan highlights further activity that the Department and its arm’s length bodies are putting in place to improve support for carers who need support with their mental health. This includes Public Health England’s intention to run a national public mental health campaign to help people become informed about factors that may influence their mental health, including being a carer, as well as the recent Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health, which was published in December 2017 and which recognises the mental health needs of young carers.