Self-Care Needs of Family Caregivers of Depression: Management and Prevention of Caregiver Burnout
Depression is one of the common mental disorders, affecting 6.6% of adult Americans yearly, yet over 80% are not treated (Center of Disease Control & Prevention [CDC], 2010). Related to depression, about 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year, and about 500,000 make suicide attempts that warrant emergency care (CDC, 2010; Nicholas & Golden 2001). Depression varies in severity and demography, and presents a significant health concern not only in America but throughout the world. The onset is gradual, episodic in nature, and clinically manifest at adulthood. Depressed persons are usually cared for by family members at home (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2008). Therefore, supporting family caregivers is crucial for the survival and recovery of this group of patients. Family caregivers are at risk of developing behavioral and health problems due to the burden of caregiving (Highet et al., 2005). Understanding the circumstances that influence caregiver’s ability to care for depressed members will provide perspectives on treating depression, improve the caregivers' quality of life, prevent delay in treatment, and minimize the frequent relapses among depressed persons (Wijngaarden et al., 2009). This paper reviews the current literature on physical, psychological, and social stressors that challenge the caregiver's ability to provide care to a family member with depression and presents the current evidence on prevention and management of caregiver burnout.