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  • Carers of faith more likely to report better mental health
  • Faith groups encouraged to support unpaid carers in their communities


New research from Carers UK shows that having a religion or faith can support the health of people caring for older, disabled, or seriously ill relatives or friends.

The charity’s State of Caring 2023 survey showed that nearly a third (30%) of unpaid carers who identified with a religion said that their faith helped improve their health and wellbeing.

Of the 5 million unpaid carers in England and Wales, a significant proportion have religious beliefs, with recent ONS census data showing that 49% are Christian. 6.2% are Muslim, 1.4% are Hindu whilst 0.4% are Jewish.

Carers who identified with a religion were also more likely to say they had ‘very good’ or ‘good’ mental health (27%) compared with carers who did not identify with a religion (20%).

Unpaid carers face significant challenges which can impact their mental and physical health, including an inability take a break from their caring responsibilities and having to juggle work with care.

Practical provision which enables carers to take a break, access information and advice, as well as emotional support is vital for all carers. Having religious or spiritual beliefs can play a valuable role in helping carers to cope with these difficulties, and to have a more positive and less stressful caring experience.

Whilst some find strength and solace through private prayer and worship, services run by faith organisations, such as mutual support groups or activity classes, can also be beneficial to carers’ wellbeing.

However, Carers UK found that only 7% of carers of faith received support with their caring role from a faith organisation or place of worship, suggesting that faith communities could play a greater role in supporting unpaid carers.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said:

“It’s clear that faith plays an important role in the lives of many unpaid carers, increasing their sense of inner strength and connecting them with others. Providing care for an older or disabled relative can be isolating, so having a community to lean on can make a big difference to carers’ wellbeing.

“Religious institutions and faith communities could consider the unique challenges facing unpaid carers, and ways they could be supported to engage in religious life, such as creating carer networks, providing opportunities for carers to meet other people, or offering volunteering opportunities that can be fitted around caring responsibilities.”

Tina English, Director at Embracing Age, a Christian charity which began offering support to carers feeling isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic, said:

“This report highlights the vital role faith organisations can play in supporting unpaid carers. As a Christian charity we have seen first-hand the positive impact of bringing carers together to pray and chat with one another, in what can be very challenging circumstances. It’s so important that carers are seen and supported in their congregations and communities."

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