‘Isa’ says just ask for some help

Jane McCarry marked the launch of this year’s campaign.Jane McCarry marked the launch of this year’s campaign.
Jane McCarry marked the launch of this year’s campaign.
Carers across the Western Isles are being urged to seek emotional and practical support through a new national campaign, delivered in partnership with Still Game’s Jane McCarry.

Jane, who plays Isa Drennan in the BBC Scotland sitcom, is a ‘sandwich’ carer – that means she cares for her mother while juggling childcare and work responsibilities. Jane marked the launch of the campaign by addressing carers from across Scotland at this year’s virtual Carers Parliament event.

With more caution about going out, as well as services being under pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic, even more people have taken on a caring role. Before the pandemic, there were an estimated 690,000 carers in Scotland, however recent polling by YouGov suggests this figure could have increased by an additional 390,000, taking the potential total number of carers in Scotland to around 1.1 million.

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The campaign aims to make sure that all who are new to caring, as well as those who were before, are aware there is support out there for them and can come forward to access it.

Although most support is being provided remotely, services are still open and ready to welcome carers. There’s a range of support measures available nationally and locally to help improve carers’ quality of life, with carer centres offering sessions such as virtual support groups, information, advice and online relaxation sessions.

Local carer centres in Western Isles can help all carers prepare their own personalised support plans.

Jane said: “I know first-hand how challenging it is to be a carer for a close friend, neighbour or family member. The working day doesn’t end yet you never view your responsibility as a burden because you’re ‘just’ looking after someone you love.

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“The reality, however, is hard – both mentally and physically – and sometimes we all need some support, be it counselling, peer support sessions or even just sitting down for a virtual cuppa with someone who knows what you’re going through.

“I’d encourage anyone in a caring role to seek out the support that’s on offer to them.”

For more information on the support available to carers, please visit nhsinform.scot/caring or telephone: 0800 011 3200.

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