|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Caring for the family caregivers
BN Subodh1, Naresh Nebhinani2
1 Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
|Date of Web Publication||17-Feb-2016|
Dr. B N Subodh
Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER, Chandigarh - 160 012
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Subodh B N, Nebhinani N. Caring for the family caregivers. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2016;32:1-2
Worldwide, shift from institution to community-based services has brought the issue of support and caregiving for mentally ill in day-to-day activities. In resource-rich countries, the caregiving is done by trained paid manpower. However, in resource-poor countries, caregiving is mostly left to the family members.
Caregiving is defined as interactions in which one person helps another on a regular basis with tasks that are necessary for independent living. A caregiver is anyone who provides assistance to someone else who is, in some degree, incapacitated and needs help.  Family caregivers are family members/friends who care for their ill members.
Due to Indian tradition and paucity of mental health professionals, majority of persons with mental illnesses stay with their family members. Hence, family caregivers have a key role in the care of people with psychiatric disorders.  Dr. Vidya Sagar in 1950s first involved the family in the care of mentally ill at Amritsar Mental Hospital. Family involvement has shown significant benefits on their recovery, functionality, resource management, and formed firm global base to include family caregivers in the management of psychiatric disorders.
In the past four decades, research on caregivers of persons with mental illness has primarily focused on the burden and distress associated with caregiving, and researchers have paid little attention on the positive aspects of caregiving. A global shift from focusing on burden to emphasizing resources is necessary for all the stakeholders for better conceptualization, research, and coordinated efforts in this area.  Literature consistently showed that caregivers are at a risk for higher physical and psychological co-morbidities. ,, In the era of globalization, industrialization, and socioeconomic changes, Indian communities are in transition. These factors are causing significant challenges to family caregivers in India.
It is really important for the mental health professionals to identify the needs of the family caregivers, and address them appropriately to reduce their burden.  Hence, time has come to improve our consideration and research in this area, for better understanding as well as to take a positive step toward effective and coordinated integration of family caregivers in the treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders. Family interventions should focus on expanding knowledge and skills training of caregivers along with task sharing and resource management for holistic management of their patients. 
With this background, the present issue will highlight on several facets of "Caregiving and caregivers." The oration article by Avasthi talks about how social theories are still relevant in current clinical practice for understanding about mental illness and management of mental illness. The article makes points for bio-psycho-social model for holistic care of mental illness.
There are two interesting review articles on caregiving. Murthy in his review on caregiving-related challenges and opportunities in India, talks about his magnificent experience and priority areas for urgent attention and research consideration. Another review by Chakrabarti talks about Indian research on caregiving. The article depicts the research evidence on caregiving and lacunae in research. The article also talks about slow progress in research on family caregivers and stresses the need for more educational programs for family caregivers.
We have four articles in the symposium section. The four articles are from theme symposium of recently concluded XXII Annual Conference of Indian Association of Social Psychiatry in Agra. Article by Isaac on cross-cultural differences in care-giving concludes that cross-cultural similarity in caregiving is more striking than differences. Jiloha and Kukreti discuss how the difference in health beliefs and health-seeking behaviors in urban and rural areas affects caregiving. Hareesh and Chaturvedi talk about policies and regulations which protect the rights of caregiver in different continents of world and in India. The review by Singh talks about how to prioritize research on caregiving. Let us have a thorough look on this beautiful canvassing of "Caring for the family caregivers." Happy reading, sharing, and contributing to mental health for all.
| References|| |
Zarit SH, Edwards AB. Family caregiving: Research and clinical intervention. In: Woods RT, editor. Psychological Problems of Ageing: Assessment, Treatment and Care. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons; 1999. p. 153-93.
Avasthi A. Preserve and strengthen family to promote mental health. Indian J Psychiatry 2010;52:113-26.
Bauer R, Sterzinger L, Koepke F, Spiessl H. Rewards of caregiving and coping strategies of caregivers of patients with mental illness. Psychiatr Serv 2013;64:185-8.
Chadda RK. Caring for the family caregivers of persons with mental illness. Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:221-7.