Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Allied Sciences, Nehru Nagar, New Delhi

Find a place inside you where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain

– Joseph Campbell

Providing care to a person with mental illness is one of the most demanding responsibilities life can offer. It is a very taxing experience, which can lead to stress, exhaustion, burden and burnout. Caregivers might bring changes in their daily routines by adjusting the working hours, social and leisure activities. Thoughts pertaining to shame, guilt, sadness and anxiety are common, persistent and difficult to stop. Caregivers also fear for the unknown situations that might emerge due not so normal behavior of the patient. In between all these worries, caregivers gradually cut out on time belonging to their own mental health.

Signs of caregiver stress:

  • Irritable mood
  • Depression
  • Increased worry and anxiety
  • Inability to relax easily
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disturb sleep
  • Being tired most of the time
  • Loss of participation in pleasurable activities
  • Neglect of your own well being

How can caregiver stress be managed?

It is important for caregivers to realize that their well being eventually decides patients' well being. As a caregiver you can observe signs of burden and burnout in yourself. Once identified, you can work on following suggestions yourself or seek professional help.

Steps to reduce stress as caregiver

  • Know more about the illness your loved one has and what best you can do to contribute to his/her well being.
  • Accepting your role as a caregiver. Define your responsibilities and if possible distribute few of them among the family members.
  • Start providing time to yourself. Even a few smaller 15- 30 minutes escapes to your hobby, music or other relaxing exercises may provide you with the strength you crave for.
  • Altering your attitude by focusing on what is required and what can be done rather than worrying for the possibilities that are out of your control.
  • Appreciate your own efforts.
  • Giving regular space in time to the patient and yourself.
  • Increase your participation socially
  • Talk about your problems to your family, friend and loved ones
  • Give proper attention to your diet and sleep patterns
  • Start meditation practices
  • Join a support group.

CAREGIVER CLINIC AT VIMHANS

Caregiver clinic is an initiation by VIMHANS to extend mental health facilities for the caregivers of persons with mental illness. Caregiver Clinic sustains the holistic treatment approach while considering the overall skill enhancement and positive involvement of the caregivers in the treatment of patients. The clinic involves services such as :

  • Awareness building and Psychoeducation
  • Time Management
  • Positive Visualization
  • Self help groups
  • Individual Counseling
  • Stress Management Training
  • Relaxation training
  • Self -Hypnosis
  • Mindfulness approach
  • Family counseling

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.

– Mother Teresa

Psycho-education forms an integral part of the initiative run by the caregiver’s clinic. This initiative involves educating the respective caregiver about their relative’s mental health disorder. When we talk about educating, we are referring to creating a basic understanding of the pathology, symptoms, episodes, behavioural outcomes and its management. Emphasis on the role of medication and psychotherapies are also brought into their knowledge. They are provided accessible materials to which they can refer to anytime for gaining more insights into the given mental health concerns. These materials are creatively designed audio-visual content, reading material and dramatic representation on various mental health disorders and wellness concerns. Certain interaction sessions also consist of simple quizzes and open forum discussions with an aim to add a more innovative approach to understanding Mental Health beyond myths.

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