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Washington, D.C. — Biopharmaceutical company Alkermes, Inc., recently awarded their annual Inspiration Grants to several organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF). APAF was recognized by Alkermes for developing Who’s Caring for the Caregiver, a new program dedicated to preserving the mental health of family caregivers.
Caring for people with mental health and substance use conditions (particularly serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) can take a substantial toll on the mental well-being of those providing care. Who’s Caring for the Caregiver was developed by APAF’s Center for Workplace Mental Health to raise awareness of this often-underrepresented group’s needs. As well, caregivers’ mental health may be taken for granted; 23% of these individuals report that fulfilling that role has made their own mental and physical health worse. Connecting caregivers to services and support not only benefits those providing care, but also trickles down to those receiving it.
Most caregivers have responsibilities outside of their work in the home; 59% of them work a full-time or part-time job. Compound caregivers (those who are caring for more than one person at a time) report especially high levels of stress, physical exhaustion, and increased loneliness or depression. When a caregiver’s mental health declines, they may not be able to offer the same level of care to their family member.
“We are grateful to Alkermes for acknowledging the unmet needs of caregivers and for their commitment to growing the capacity of caregivers to better support community members who are struggling with their mental health,” said APAF Executive Director Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq. “Alkermes’ generous support of the Foundation will allow us to distribute resources and host local programming designed to educate caregivers on balancing their own needs with those of their loved ones.”
The Foundation’s existing Notice. Talk. Act.® framework will also be built into Who’s Caring for the Caregiver programming. Targeting caregivers’ other family members and coworkers, APAF and APA physician-psychiatrists will coach community members on how to notice the signs of potential mental health concerns, to discuss those concerns openly, and to connect the caregiver to resources or mental health care. Disseminating the message that Mental Health Care Works is a key pillar of this forthcoming program.
To learn more about Notice. Talk. Act. ® or Mental Health Care Works, visit apafdn.org.
The American Psychiatric Association Foundation is the philanthropic and educational arm of APA. The APA Foundation promotes awareness of mental illnesses and the effectiveness of treatment, the importance of early intervention, access to care, and the need for high-quality services and treatment through a combination of public and professional education, research, research training, grants, and awards.
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA's vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.