November has been designated as the National Family Caregivers Month to recognize and honor family caregivers across the nation.
An estimated 53 million (PDF | 2.5 MB) Americans are caregivers for children and adults with illness and/or disability each year. Of these, approximately 13 million support adults with mental health conditions and many more support children, as well as those with substance use conditions. Family caregivers come in all ages – including children caring for adult family members – as well as all ethnic and cultural backgrounds and socio-economic status.
Families are invaluable in supporting the recovery and well-being of their loved ones who have mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. This includes providing essential social, material, and emotional support as well as helping to navigate often complex service systems. Providing caregiving support can be very challenging (PDF | 1.6 MB) for families and often results in financial as well as emotional hardships. Almost three-fourths of family caregivers report high emotional stress with about half feeling alone. As family caregivers ourselves, we know first-hand how both challenging and rewarding caring for a loved one can be.
At the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), we celebrate and support family caregivers for all they do. For so many, family caregivers are the cornerstone and foundation in helping people thrive and pursue recovery, resilience, and wellbeing.
To support family caregivers, SAMHSA has:
- Created and distributed information materials to help families in caring for their loved ones.
- Supported statewide family networks.
- Established a National Family Support Technical Assistance Center.
- Expanded person and family-centered care and peer support.
- Developed guides for public officials on developing family education programs.
- Provided grants to support families impacted by substance use.
- Supported Service Member, Veterans and their Families.
We also collaborate with our other federal partners to support caregivers. This includes working with the Administration for Community Living (ACL) on the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council which is charged with providing recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on effective models of both family caregiving and support to family caregivers, as well as improving coordination across federal government programs. Recently, ACL released the 2022 National Strategy to Support Family Caregivers that includes nearly 350 actions that federal agencies will take in the near term to begin to implement the strategy and more than 150 actions that others can take. You can submit your feedback on the strategy by November 20, 2022.
SAMHSA is proud to acknowledge and support family caregivers for the important role they play in helping to support recovery of their loved ones. Please take a moment to thank family caregivers in your community today.