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The Mental Health Toll of Caregiving

Monday, May 1st, 2023

by Bethany Eggers, MA, LPC-MH



The Mental Health Toll of Caregiving: Strategies for Coping and Seeking Support

Caring for a loved one can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Caregivers often face high levels of stress and emotional strain, which can take a significant toll on their mental health. In fact, research has shown that caregivers are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, and burnout than the general population. Despite this, many caregivers neglect their own mental health needs, believing that their focus should be solely on the person they’re caring for. This is a mistake. In order to provide the best possible care for their loved one, caregivers must also take care of themselves. 

Caregiving can be a demanding and stressful role, and not everyone is equally equipped to handle it. Some caregivers may be more vulnerable to burnout and other mental health issues than others. Risk factors for caregiver burnout include, but are not limited to: lack of support, financial strain and lack of control. It’s important for caregivers to be aware of the signs of burnout and stress so that they can take action to address these issues before they become more serious. Some common signs of caregiver burnout and stress include: feelings of sadness or depression, anxiety or worry, physical symptoms, withdrawal from friends and family. 

One of the most important things caregivers can do to protect their mental health is to take care of themselves. This may involve setting aside time for relaxation and self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family. Here are a few tips for practicing self-care as a caregiver: prioritize sleep, eat a healthy diet, take breaks and seek support. 

Caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Caregivers who neglect their own mental health needs may find themselves struggling to cope with the demands of caregiving, which can lead to a range of negative outcomes. By taking care of themselves, caregivers can provide the best possible care for their loved one while also maintaining their own mental and physical health. 

Counseling is just one way in which you can seek professional support. At all four of our locations - River Counseling Services in Platte, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Stronghold Counseling Services in Sioux Falls and in Yankton, our mission is this- we meet you where you are, offering hope.  You may schedule an appointment at the Platte office at 605-337-3444 or meet with one of our Sioux Falls or Yankton based therapists from your computer, smartphone, or in person at any of our clinics. To schedule an appointment, please call 605-334-2696.