Helping young people reach their goals.
Our campaign for families in need of short breaks
In 2003 Mencap launched the Breaking Point report. This showed that 8 out of 10 families surveyed had reached crisis through not getting enough short breaks.
In 2006, the follow up report, Breaking Point - Families still need a break, found that 7 out of 10 families were still at, or being pushed to, breaking point.
Now, 10 years on from Breaking Point, Mencap has released a follow-up report which finds that the situation has not improved: 8 out of 10 family carers have reached, or are close to reaching, breaking point as a result of not getting the help and support they need.
What Mencap wants
- No family carer is left to reach breaking point.
- Every family that needs a short break receives one.
- Money intended for short breaks is spent on providing them.
- There is a more family-centred approach to planning and delivering short breaks provision.
- Services are person-centred and able to meet the differing care needs of the people who use them.
- Information about local need for short breaks is collected in a more consistent way and used to inform what services are offered and to whom.
What you can do
Email your local council and ask them what they are doing to protect short breaks services in the next financial year.
Download our campaigns pack to find out how to get involved in our campaign.
Read our easy read guide on the latest report and how you can campaign for more support for family carers.
Share your story with Mencap so we can continue to highlight this issue. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Mencap is doing
- We are lobbying the government to ensure that money for short breaks is spent on these services.
- We are lobbying the government to improve family carer rights so they can have a break when they need one.
- We are working with councils at a local level to ensure they protect short breaks services and give families the support they need.
- We are supporting families to know their rights and fight for their services.
Help for family carers
Read Mencap’s know your rights on short breaks guide.
Contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111.
Experiences of family carers
Family carers like Alf share their experiences of caring for someone with a learning disability without the short breaks they need. Read their stories.
What is breaking point?
‘Breaking point’ is a term we use to explain the moment of crisis for a carer, often emotional, psychological and physical, where they feel they can’t go on. This is frequently caused by the lack of short breaks services, the constant supervision and daily worries finally becoming too much. It is an unimaginable situation, which causes turmoil for all family members.
"I actually walked out of the family home and left for 10 days before I felt able to return."
What are short breaks?
The term short breaks (also known as respite) is used to describe the time off that family carers and people with a learning disability receive. These breaks come in different forms. Some families access short breaks centres; others are part of schemes involving placements with families or receive direct payments to purchase their own support.
"We can't keep running on empty and need a break."
Family carers are people who care for a family member with a learning disability on an unpaid basis.
Our latest report into support for family carers found that, 10 years on from our first Breaking Point report on short breaks provision, 8 out of 10 family carers are still reaching crisis due to a lack of breaks from caring.