Mental illness: Through CAREGIVER’S lens

We have always talked about the struggles and hardships of a mental illness patient- their personal life challenges and battles with the society. However, in this piece, we want to shed some light on those PEOPLE who work towards the betterment of this section of society and more so making them more FUNCTIONAL in all the aspects possible- the CAREGIVERS.

Caregivers can be in any face- neighbours, secondary help like- nannies and nurses or even babysitters, however, the primary caregiver is one’s FAMILY. When we talk about collectivistic cultures, it is largely assumed that people live with their families and close-knit with each other on all grounds. Hence, family members prove to become a significant source of caregivers for all types of ill patients.

We expect our caregivers to be healthy persons, who know how to manage their emotions, regulate their and the patient’s lifestyle well and someone who is capable to take a form of any role. Sometimes caregivers make several sacrifices which an ill patient can fail to realize and sometimes those around them.

According to researchers, stress in caregiving has been referred to as “Caregiver burden” in literature.

Understanding Caregiving burden 

  • Caregivers are equally vulnerable to negative health outcomes and other psychosocial and physical issues as any other human being or even more than anybody else.
  • Caregivers taking care of mentally ill patients are found to be anxious, stressed and hopeless, for instance, dementia caregivers exhibit higher coronary risk, due to increased blood pressure than non-caregivers.
  • Their social life is severely hampered, considering the heavy schedule and responsibilities of these people towards ill patients (Some even look after more than one patient). Their interaction with different sections of the society is restricted to quite an extent.
  • A poor functioning of the patients can further increase the burden on caregivers, which can make them socially withdrawn and inactive.

Caregiving is a multidimensional response to stressors (physical, psychological, social and emotional). However, a caregiver’s vulnerability depends on several factors, such as:

  • their interaction with the patient
  • the perception of the burden
  • other healthcare providers
  • their personal stress diathesis dynamics and many other factors…



CAREGIVERS coping strategies for HELP:

  • Indulging in more positive emotions, like compassion and gratitude. This can help to uplift one’s spirits to work more compassionately towards their respective patient responsibilities.
  • Caregiver support systems (healthcare, community interaction and participation). It is vital for the caregivers to maintain a healthy personal life in order to maintain their professional life as smooth.
  • Caregiver Reward System can to some extent aid in boosting the caregiver motivation. This can help to keep themselves working sufficiently towards their patient responsibilities.
  • Intervention for caregivers become vital especially when their functional aspects are on a decline. They should be immediately suggested for a professional help- someone who can assess the root cause of their issues and guide them through difficult times


Identifying caregivers’ struggles is becoming a serious concern as more and more ‘help’ is being required for the ill people. “Caregiver burden” is though a fairly recent phenomenon, yet much-needed to be dealt with soon.

What do you think about the whole concept and how can we work towards it?



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