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This Mental Health Awareness Week we want to recognise all of the incredible carers of people living with dementia in Scotland.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope. While stress isn't a mental health problem, the Foundation also says that stress can often leads to depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide, as well as physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, joint and muscle problems.

Although caring for a person with dementia can be incredibly rewarding it can also be stressful. It is very easy to have so much of your time taken up caring for that person, that you don’t think about yourself. It is extremely important to look after yourself to ensure that you continue to have the physical and mental wellbeing to continue your caring role.

Here are some tips from carers on looking after yourself:

  1. Look after your health by eating a varied diet and getting regular exercise: going for a walk will keep your strength up and can take your mind off things.
  2. Look after your happiness: try to maintain your own hobbies where you can and try to keep your sense of humour and a positive attitude.
  3. Talk honestly to people, especially other carers: finding support from other people in the same situation can help you find ways of coping and managing in difficult situations.
  4. Ask for help: you never know what’s available for you unless you ask.

For more information on coping with stress as a carer this Mental Health Week call the Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit the National Dementia Carer’s Action Network page on our website