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  • Research shows that more than a quarter of unpaid carers’ mental health is bad or very bad
  • Half of unpaid carers say their physical health has suffered as a result of caring, and 23% say they have sustained injuries through caring.
  • More than three-quarters (76%) of carers are worried about being able to provide care in the future
  • Carers Wales calls for better and more targeted mental health support for unpaid carers in Wales

A widespread lack of support and recognition from health and care services is damaging unpaid carers’ mental health, research from Carers Wales shows. 

People caring round the clock for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives do not have adequate support from statutory services that are in place to help them - leaving many steeped in thoughts of hopelessness, fear and dread. 

More than a quarter (28%) of unpaid carers are in bad or very bad mental health, rising to 30% of those caring for more than 50 hours a week, and 32% for carers who had been caring for over 10 years. 

82% have continuous low mood, 82% have feelings of hopelessness and 73% regularly feel tearful. 

73% of carers with bad or very bad mental health are living with a sense of fear or dread. 

Despite feeling they are at breaking point, three quarters (75%) of these carers are continuing to provide care. 

52% of carers said their physical health had suffered, and 23% said that caring had caused them injuries.

Not getting support is taking its toll on worn out unpaid carers: having to wait long periods for health treatment - or putting it off because of the demands of their caring role; being unable to rely on fragmented social care services to support with caring, and struggling financially because they cannot earn a higher income. 


Quotes from unpaid carers shared in the State of Caring 2023 survey

“I am completely neglecting my own needs as my whole time is spent working full time, caring for my family and caring for my mum”
“Days just merge into one and there is no sign of light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Caring has ruined my health.”



Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales said: 

Unpaid carers in Wales make an incredibly positive impact on society, but feel unseen, undervalued and completely left behind by services that are supposed to give them the support they need. This is especially frustrating, when research shows that unpaid carers saved Wales £10.6 billion over a 12 month period. 
Being unable to take breaks from their caring responsibilities, not having the ability to prioritise their own wellbeing and constantly worrying about finances mean many carers in Wales are hitting rock bottom. 
Unpaid carers are long overdue both the recognition and support they need and deserve. The Welsh Government, local authorities and health and social care services across Wales must prioritise rapid, targeted interventions to better support unpaid carers and avoid exacerbating the caring crisis in Wales.” 
Of unpaid carers overall, more than three quarters (79%) feel stressed or anxious, more than half (51%) feel depressed, and half (49%) feel lonely.  
66% of carers agreed that the increase in the cost of living was having a negative impact on their physical and/or mental health. 
Carers Wales is urging the UK and Welsh Governments to tackle the immense health challenges facing unpaid carers. The charity is calling on the Welsh Government to invest at least £1m to improve the experience of unpaid carers when their loved one is admitted or discharged from hospital and to create a dedicated fund for mental health support for unpaid carers. The charity’s other recommendations include calling on the NHS to ensure all patient records include whether someone has caring responsibilities, and for NHS staff to be properly trained to identify people with caring responsibilities and understand carers rights."


- ENDS - 

Notes to Editors 

Carers Wales carried out an online survey between June and August 2023, receiving a total of 1,290 responses from current unpaid carers. Of respondents to the survey: 

  • 84% are female, 15% are male and 1% have a different gender identity than their sex registered at birth
  • 33% have been caring for more than 15 years, 16% have been caring for 10-14 years, 22% have been caring for 5-9 years, 25% have been caring for 1-4 years and 3% less for less than a year
  • 50% care for 90 hours a week or more, 15% care for 50-89 hours, 21% care for 20-49 hours and 14% care for 19 hours or less


Media contact

Case studies and spokespeople are available upon request.


Please contact Carers Wales on:

  • 029 2081 1370 (Mon-Fri)
  • 07552 831235 (out of hours)


*Health and care services include

  • Respite services
  • Home care
  • Day centres
  • Overnight care
  • Sitting-in services
  • Residential or nursing care
  • Fast and easy access to GP appointments
  • Physiotherapy
  • Timely operations
  • Counselling, therapy and listening services
  • Specialist treatment and assessment in hospital


About Carers Wales 

Carers Wales is part of Carers UK, a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers. 

  • We give expert advice, information, and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers


For practical advice and information about caring, go to or email or call our helpline on 0808 808 7777. 

The Carers UK Forum is our online community of carers and is available to Carers UK members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:

X:                           @CarersWales 

Carers UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (246329) and in Scotland (SC039307) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (864097). 

Read the full State of Caring in Wales 2023: Health document here

Bydd fersiwn Gymraeg Cyflwr Gofalu yng Nghymru 2023: Iechyd ar gael yn fuan

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