A MSW (Institute of Mental Health)
& Rotary Club of Northam Initiative

About Caregivers' Stress

Coping with Caregivers' Stress

Caregivers' Self-Care


Caregivers' Stress: Difficulties in Caring for a Loved one with Mental Illness

Having to care for a loved one suffering from mental illness can interfere with your daily life, as you try to provide care while carrying on with your own activities and commitments. Social and work relationships are often affected, and family bonds tested. Personal activities may become more difficult to carry out as caregivers face the challenge of trying to balance caregiving responsibilities and personal needs.

Common Causes

  • Work difficulties
  • Family-related difficulties, caregiving responsibilities and stress
  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Daily hassles
  • Everyday events that can be irritating or frustrating, such as change in routine, travelling
  • Financial problems
  • Physical illnesses
  • Major life events (e.g. major or long-standing illness, death of a loved one, traumatic experiences)

Symptoms of Caregivers' Stress
Caregivers often experience changes in their…

Mood and Feelings

  • Increased irritability, moodiness, anxiety, anger
  • Feeling helplessness, hopelessness, a loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies
  • Physical illnesses
  • Socialising less, easily irritated or angry


  • Poor attention, concentration and memory,
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts clearly

Daily Behaviours

  • Less interest in activities
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns (e.g. difficulty sleeping, or sleeping all the time)


  • Feeling more tired, frequent headaches, stomach discomfort
  • Falling ill more frequently

Commonly Experienced Emotions
It is normal to have strong feelings when someone you love has been diagnosed with mental illness. These emotions can be overwhelming. Caring for a person with psychosis may thus challenge you emotionally in ways that are completely new. It is therefore important to acknowledge and understand these emotional reactions as part of your caregiving journey and learn how to cope with them.

The range of emotions include :
Shock Shame Guilt Fear Resentment
Denial Sadness Isolation Frustration Anger
Excitement Anxiety Sense of pride Joy Hope