GPs key to spotting signs of stress in carers

GPs should be alert to signs of stress and psychological harm in patients who are carers because they rarely discuss these issues in consultations, researchers have said.

Stress: many carers face phenomenal pressure
Stress: many carers face phenomenal pressure

Interviews with family members of young people with psychosis have revealed the 'phenomenal' stress they face, yet many do not identify themselves as carers to their GP. Researchers said this means many fail to seek help for the trauma associated with their caring role.

Lead author Dr Anna Lavis of the University of Birmingham told GP that carers need to be identified earlier to get the support they need. 'Listening is probably the key thing we're thinking about - no complex intervention, nothing expensive,' she said.

Researchers interviewed 72 carers as part of a continuing five-year project that will run until 2015. These included partners, friends, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings. Early findings were presented at the Society for Academics in Primary Care conference.

The 'emotional and powerful' interviews showed the burden associated with caring for a person with psychosis.

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