for better mental health

How to cope when supporting someone else

Explains how to cope when supporting someone else, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.

What support can I get?

There are organisations who can help make things easier for you. On this page we have listed some places and people who could offer you extra support.

Unfortunately, lack of funding means it isn't always easy to get the support you deserve – and some services are only available in certain places. However, it's worth finding out more about your options.

Support for your mental health

  • Your GP. It's always ok to seek help, even if you are not experiencing a specific mental health problem. Our page on seeking help for a mental health problem has more information about how your GP can help and what might happen in an appointment.
  • Talking treatments give you time to talk about your worries and explore difficult feelings with a trained professional. You might find it helpful to have space to talk about how looking after someone else affects you, without having to feel guilty for expressing the difficult or frustrating parts.
  • Resources in our mental health A–Z can give you a lot of specific advice about getting help for different mental health problems.

"I looked after my friend who was suicidal for weeks, not knowing what to do to help. When I was finally at the end of my tether, I called Samaritans. I didn't realise they were able to help me too. After a relatively short phone call I was pointed in the right direction to get help for my friend and also for me."

Practical help

  • Social care support. Social services may be able to provide support for you and the person you are looking after. The kind of support you are offered will depend on your needs and the needs of the person you are looking after. This will be decided through a carers assessment. For more information about carers assessments, see our legal page on (adult) carers' social care rights. You can also find more information for both adult and young carers on the Carers UK website.
  • Financial support. You may be able to get some money to help you. This could include carers allowance and/or housing and council tax benefits. The person that you care for may also be entitled to some benefits. Benefits and financial support can be complicated and they are not always easy to apply for. You might find it helpful to use Turn2us to check what benefits or grants you might be eligible for. Citizens Advice can help if you are having problems.
  • Respite care. You may be entitled to support to help you have a break. If you have a carer's assessment it should include information about respite care. Some voluntary organisations can also help. NHS Carers Direct has a database of local support services.
  • Support at work. If you are finding it hard to balance paid employment with looking after someone else, you have a right to ask your employer about flexible working arrangements. This could involve going part time, changing your work pattern or job sharing. You are also entitled to reasonable time off work to deal with emergencies. NHS Carers Direct has more information about your rights at work.
  • Technology is being developed to make it easier to look after someone else. Carers UK has information on these new technologies and how they could help you.

"My GP says caring is a marathon not a sprint, so pace yourself accordingly!"

This information was published in March 2017.

This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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