Taking care of another person can be very stressful. It’s important to also take care of yourself. Your own mental health is important for its own sake—and being mentally healthy will also make you a better caregiver!
There are many ways to take care of yourself, including taking time to do things you enjoy and making sure you get a break from caregiving every now and then. Another important way to get help is to find support. This can come from many places:
- Friends and family who can help you with caregiving duties, or who can simply provide you with emotional support.
- A therapist or someone similar you can confide in about your own feelings.
- Support groups for caregivers. These are often made up of other caregivers, who meet together in person or online to talk about their experiences. These groups are great places to find emotional support, but also helpful advice.
- Formal supports, such as educational or government agencies that provide information and support to caregivers or to the people they take care of.
Here is a list of helpful resources, adapted from Mental Health America’s 2019 Family Caregivers Toolkit:
General caregiving resources
- CaregiverAction.org: Education, peer support, and resources for family caregivers.
- ChoicesInRecovery.com: Support and information for people with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorder and their caregivers, including resources for having conversations with treatment professionals.
- MoreThanMyDiagnosis.com: Stories and advice from people who either live with mental health issues or care for someone who does.
Treatment, peer, and other supports
- MHAnational.org/find-affiliate: Find your local MHA affiliate and see what peer support programs are offered or get connected with local health and wellness programs.
- AskJAN.org: The Job Accommodation Network’s official website with resources for individuals, employers, and others surrounding workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Also, in Spanish.
- Clubhouse-Intl.org: A website for individuals living with mental illnesses to find Clubhouses—safe environments with opportunities for friendship, employment, housing, education and access to medical and psychiatric services in a single setting.
- HUD.gov: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website helps you find rental help and get connected to local housing resources in your area.
- Inspire.com: A social network for patients and caregivers to connect, share, and learn from each other about medical conditions, treatment, and support.
- Toucan app for iPhone: A peer support platform that pairs people, 1-on-1 and anonymously, for conversations called Huddles centered around a shared topic such as caregiving.
- TheMighty.com: A safe, supportive online community for people facing health challenges and the people who care for them.