HUDDERSFIELD carers are being urged to ask for help.
The call comes as it is estimated two thirds of people who look after loved ones in Kirklees do not access any support at all.
Now a new NHS phoneline is being launched to reach carers who fall under the radar.
Carers Direct – available by calling 0808 802 02 02 – aims to help people who care for others and to offer them advice about the practical and financial support open to them.
Rob Finch from Carers Direct said: “Whether you look after someone for a few hours or several days a week, the helpline is there for you.
“Staffed by trained advisers, many of whom are carers themselves, the helpline can provide information, advice and support – whether that’s how to take a break, getting special equipment, help in the home, financial support or even just a friendly voice to talk to for reassurance.
“We’re here to help in whatever way we can.”
The new service comes as research shows around one in 10 people care for someone, such as an elderly parent or a disabled family member.
But it is estimated only a third have contacted health organisations for support, leaving more than 60% to cope alone.
This army of hidden carers often persevere by themselves, spending 20 hours or more a week looking after loved ones without seeking any support from organisations who can help them.
Dame Philippa Russell, chairwoman of the Standing Commission of Carers, said: “So many of us take on the role of carer without even knowing it.
“Often it starts with offering to help an elderly relative with shopping or checking if they’ve taken their medication.
“But before you know it you are with them several hours or more a week and as their ability to look after themselves deteriorates, they rely on you even more.
“Without help and support, before long you can find yourself struggling with what can be very physical and mental demands, trying to balance work and home life and potentially risking your own health and wellbeing as a result.
“It is important that carers are aware that there is help out there, whether it’s just having someone to talk to, guidance on financial assistance or simply understanding the support available to them.”
It is estimated 6,000 people become carers every day in the UK, often doing so out of love, devotion or duty.
For free information and support call Carers Direct on 0808 802 02 02.
Information is available on the website at www.nhs.uk/carersdirect