Responding to DHSC's 10 year mental health consultation

Hello everyone

As part of Carers UK’s advocacy work, we regularly engage in consultations from different government departments on a range of policy issues.

Currently, the Department for Health and Social Care is consulting on a 10-year plan for improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. The purpose of the 10-year plan is to improve the support that those with mental ill health receive.

We will be submitting a response to this consultation on behalf of carers, based on our existing research and data. This is really important as our recent State of Caring 2021 report found that almost a third of carers (30%) consider their mental health to be either bad or very bad. This reveals a worrying trend towards poorer mental health amongst carers, given that this figure has increased from 27% in just two years since 2019. Concerningly, the picture is even worse for those caring more than 35 hours a week, where over a third (34%) consider their mental health to be bad or very bad.

We wanted to give you the opportunity to tell us about your own lived experiences regarding the impact that caring has had on your own mental ill health, as well as what it is like caring for someone with mental ill health. Feel free to provide as much or little detail as you would like, but specifically, we would like to hear more about:

  • The impact that providing unpaid care had on your own mental health? Please also tell us if/how this has changed during the COVID pandemic.

  • From your experience of caring for someone with mental ill health, how can public services better support the people you care for?

  • How well supported do you feel by the NHS and other public services regarding your mental health, or with caring for someone with mental ill health? Where (if anywhere) does the NHS perform well, and where there is room for improvement?

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your experiences publicly in the thread below, please feel free to email instead. All information you provide will be used anonymously.

You can find out more information about the consultation through the link below. We will also make sure to share our final submission with you, ahead of the deadline for responses on 7th July.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Policy and Public Affairs Team

If you need any support with your mental health and wellbeing, please check out the advice pages on our website. Our telephone Helpline is also available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm, or you can contact us by email ( If you need somebody to talk to or a listening ear, Samaritans is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 or you can email

I’m registered as a carer with my GP. However, that’s it. They’ve never taken that on board except for (on one year) the flu vaccine. I now get it because I’m diabetic. Otherwise it’s just been a box ticking exercise. Every time I mention my caring role they switch to my physical health issues without acknowledging the caring role or the effect that has. They just refuse to go there. And absolutely they don’t go anywhere near the length of time I’ve been caring. Fortunately I have reasonable coping mechanisms, although I won’t suggest that my mental health hasn’t been affected over the years - it’s just that I’ve been involved in caring since I was two, so I don’t really know anything else. Nothing to compare it with.

My son has mental health issues, my wife has a spinal cord injury that has understandably triggered a degree of depression: the latter is not acknowledged, the former is treated with pills. CBT was useless for our son, and nothing else is offered because one size fits all. Cheaper that way. He also has a physical condition involving compressions on the spine causing spasms. They haven’t been reviewed (until this week, at his request) in seven years. He’s now being referred urgently for a scan…

On a completely separate note: people with diabetes are prone to depression, yet the annual checks never check this area. In men, diabetes often leads to impotence/erectile dysfunction, which is likely to trigger depression. I can honestly say that the last time I was asked about that was in 2008. When I was told “that’s the first to go,” Very helpful. And since then, a question observed only by omission. So much so that it can only be standard practice in at least my GP practice. Embarrassing subjects and the associated questions are naturally avoided…