Caregivers burning out, conference told

Burnout among caregivers, including family members, continues to be huge, says a behavioural psychologist speaking at a Red Deer mental health conference on Wednesday.

Burnout among caregivers, including family members, continues to be huge, says a behavioural psychologist speaking at a Red Deer mental health conference on Wednesday.

Developing support groups could be part of the solution.

“Often parents and caregivers feel alone. It’s important they have a network to reach out to,” said Dr. Mark Weinberg from Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services, with Fraser Health in British Columbia.

“There’s a reason AA does so well. They create not only those groups that people can go to, but also little support networks, someone to call when things are in trouble.”

Sometimes caregivers can only see “this insurmountable wall.” But addressing their isolation can make a difference, he said.

Weinberg said opening the lines of communication with peers, as well as providing access to advice from mental health professionals in the community are also important.

The conference Working Together: Building Solutions, sponsored by Persons with Developmental Disabilities, looked at ways to support people with mental illness and developmental disability, also known as dual diagnosis. The two-day conference at the Capri Hotel continues today.