8 out of 10 families have reached breaking point. Breaking point is the moment of crisis for a carer when they feel they simply cannot go on. This is not caused by caring for someone with a learning disability; it is the result of constant care without a break. It can be prevented.
When you are caring for someone 24 hours a day and you know it’s going to be forever, a short break is a lifeline.
What you can do
Carers deserve a break
A carer is someone who cares for a person with a learning disability on an unpaid basis - they might be a parent, sibling, other relative or family friend. More than 7 out of 10 carers provide more than 15 hours of unpaid care each day. They carry this responsibility out of love for the person they care for. The alternative is state-funded care. Without carers, the government would need to spend over £119 billion each year in staff costs for full-time care.
What are short breaks?
Short breaks services (also known as respite) are provided by local authorities and give carers and people with a learning disability a chance to recharge. Despite this, short breaks services across the country are being cut. These cuts show no sign of slowing and will push more families to breaking point.
What we want
- No family carer is left to reach breaking point
- Every family that needs a short break receives one
- No more short breaks services cut.
What we're 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.
Read more on this
- Read our latest report on short breaks
- Read our easy read guide on the latest report and how you can campaign for more support for family carers
- Read the 2006 report
- Read the 2003 report
Help for carers
- Read Mencap’s know your rights on short breaks guide
- Contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111
Too many carers have reached breaking point. Too many short breaks services are being cut. Read first-hand stories from carers who have reached breaking point, and see how vital these services really are.
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.