The Health and Mental Health of Informal Caregivers in Rural and Urban Northern Ireland

Dr Stefanie Doebler (QUB)

This presentation discusses new research findings from a project that analyses effects of providing unpaid care to a family member or neighbour on the self-reported health and mental health of the care-giver. The results are based on robust statistical analyses of Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS)-data. The NILS is a Census-linked health-records study, representative of the Northern Irish population. In addition, analyses include NILS-linked BSO-prescription data for mental health drugs, allowing for comparisons of the risk of suffering from ill-mental health across different social strata. Furthermore, the findings account for area-level effects (e.g. remoteness and access to services). This allows for a distinction to be drawn between relationships across different sub-populations and across rural-urban area-contexts. The results presented are highly useful to researchers and policy-makers in order to evaluate the social support – and care needs of individuals and families in Northern Ireland. The findings are highly relevant in the following areas: Transforming Your Care; Mental Health (the forthcoming Mental Capacity Bill); Access to Appropriate Care; Gender Equality (following the review of the Gender Equality Strategy); and, Differential Health Outcomes (a socio-economic, demographic and spatial analysis, e.g. differences in sickness rates, disability and mortality).

(Policy Briefing) (Presentation

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