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National Family Caregivers Month

Young woman with hand on older man.

Mental Health America (MHA) is proud to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month - a time to celebrate the contributions of caregivers, provide them with tools that they need, and continue to advocate for individuals with mental illness.

There are over 53 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. Twenty-seven percent or nearly a third of adult caregivers are helping someone with a mental illness. Caregiving can often have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver in more ways than one. It can make maintaining your physical and mental health more difficult and may put a strain on work and social life.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, feelings of stress, worry, and isolation may have become familiar to all of us. Despite the current situation, caregiving-as-usual happens. Loved ones may have doctor appointments or there may be prescriptions to refill. Being a family caregiver is difficult in the best of circumstances. The stress and challenges of the role can have a huge impact on a family caregiver’s mental health, leading to more family caregivers experiencing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug addiction, and anxiety. 

It’s important for caregivers to take care of their own mental health. Supporting caregivers with information and resources can help them maintain their mental health and better serve loved ones with mental illness. 

If you are a caregiver struggling with your own mental health, visit mhascreening.org to take a free, anonymous, and confidential screen.

In recognition of National Family Caregivers Month, MHA released a new report, The Strain of Caregiving: How Caregiver Involvement Reduces Distress and Conflict, which explores whether family caregivers feel involved in the care of their loved ones if involvement has an effect on their levels of distress and conflict in providing care, and the hope they have for their loved one’s recovery. Click here to download the report.

Fast facts about caregivers

  • 45% of caregivers for adults with mental illness are parents, 14% are adult children and 11% are spouses.
  • The need for caregivers is expected to continue to grow as the US older adult population increases.
  • Caregivers of people with mental illness are:
    • 7% more likely to feel they have been discriminated against at work because of their role than caregivers of people with a physical illness
    • 14% more likely to report high difficulty finding affordable services
    • 11% more likely to say they didn’t receive training
    • 21% more likely to feel high emotional stress (compared to caregivers of people with a physical condition)

Caregiver mental health resources

MHA's 2019 Family Caregivers Toolkit

MHA created the 2019 Family Caregivers Toolkit to help caregivers strengthen relationships with their loved ones with mental illness through materials that educate and empower.

If you are a caregiver, with the right tools and perspectives, you can work together with your loved one as a team to accomplish goals, find a treatment plan that works, and be prepared in the event of a crisis.

MHA wants everyone to know that when we take the time to invest in our mental health, we can focus on creating an inclusive world for caregivers and their loved ones to thrive, together.

The toolkit includes:

  • Fact sheets on:
    • Goal setting,
    • Treatment supports,
    • Preparing for an appointment,
    • Treatment options and
    • The HIPAA Privacy Rule;
  • Crisis plan worksheet;
  • Sample social media post language and shareable images;
  • Drop-In article for newsletters;
  • Key messages; 
  • Posters for use in clinicians’ offices, and other places where caregivers may spend time; and
  • Additional resources.

Partner Organizations for Caregivers


This campaign is supported by contributions from Janssen: Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.