National Family Caregivers Month
Each November, the nation takes time to celebrate, recognize and honor family caregivers. Caregiving is a difficult and never-ending job. People providing care and support for loved ones pour their heart and soul into their work, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. This year, and every year, ADAMH wants to encourage caregivers to take time for self-care, too.
Being a caregiver can result in major health concerns, such as increased risk of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, depression or substance use paired with a reduced immune response and poor physical health due to neglecting one’s own care. Paying attention to your own physical and emotional health allows you to better manage the challenges of supporting a loved one.
Neglecting self care and allowing stress to build up will affect your entire body. To prevent future complications, please take time to review the resources listed below:
- Mental Health America offers screening tools for many mental health concerns as well as a screening for those providing care to a loved one with a mental health disorder. Take a few minutes to self-asses and use these tools to start a conversation with your doctor.
- Concord Counseling and NAMI Franklin County, with support from ADAMH, provide respite care to Franklin County residents who are caring for adult loved ones.
- NAMI Franklin County offers a support group for caregivers and family members caring for loved ones with mental illness which is led by adult family members who are trained facilitators.
- NAMI Franklin County also provides a Mentor Program which connects family and caregivers with caring family members who can help you deal with the realities and difficulties of caring for a loved one with mental illness.
- Mental Health America of Franklin County (MHAFC) and Concord Counseling also offer Families in Touch, a support group for Friends and Family of Adults Living with Mental Illness.
- MHAFC also offers the Family Advocate Program which connects family members and loved ones of persons living with a mental illness to peer Family Advocates. Call 614.955.8154 or email the program at firstname.lastname@example.org. This line is monitored Monday through Friday during business hours.
Meg Griffing, ADAMH Clinical Manager, Adults, reminds us that “when a family takes time for self care, they can live in harmony.”
- Protect your mental and physical well-being with these tips:
- Eat a balanced diet. Avoid processed foods and replace them with whole grains, fruits and vegetables to increase resiliency, stabilize energy levels and boost your mood.
- Exercise regularly. Find a way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine or join a group class that will motivate you to stick to a schedule. Exercise improves your overall health by naturally producing stress-relieving hormones.
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness. Meditation and deep breathing are quick and easy ways to reduce stress wherever you are and allow you to think more clearly about how to handle conflicts or stressful situations.
- Get adequate sleep. According to the CDC, based on research from The National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adults are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. For quality sleep, be consistent with your routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Avoid electronic devices, large meals, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco before bed. Looking into alternative medications like CBD oil, as well as other sleep remedies can ultimately help you to switch off and to get the sleep that you deserve.
- Find productive outlets. Stress can be a trigger for individuals to turn to alcohol or other drugs. Avoid turning to these habits and find a more productive and healthy outlet such as exercise, talking to a friend, crafting, journaling, reading, cleaning or organizing.
- For additional national caregiver information and resources through Mental Health America, visit https://www.mhanational.org/national-family-caregivers-month.
Thank you for all that you do, caregivers! Your work is appreciated and valuable.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 614.276.2273 or use the chat feature on the left-hand side of our website to talk to a trained clinician.
To learn more about services offered in Franklin County, check out our System of Care. Support can also be found for caregivers and others struggling with mental health and substance use disorders at these Franklin County Support Groups.