A new project has been launched by researchers from the University of East Anglia with the aim of improving the mental health of carers looking after people with dementia. The project, called iACT4CARERS, is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and focuses on developing a digital therapy platform. This platform, which can be accessed on mobile devices, is designed to help carers manage difficult thoughts and feelings while prioritizing their own health. The researchers are now seeking 500 volunteers to test out the digital therapy.
Dr Naoko Kishita, the lead researcher, highlighted the fact that family carers of individuals with dementia face a higher risk of mental health problems. The main goal of the project is to provide support to these carers through the online platform. In order to participate in the project, carers will need to be experiencing worry or stress and have access to a smartphone, computer, or tablet with an internet connection. Half of the volunteers will be given access to the digital therapy platform, while the other half will act as a control group.
Carers assigned to the digital therapy group will be required to complete eight online sessions. They will also receive support from a therapist who will provide weekly feedback and one-to-one calls. The researchers believe that the platform has the potential to greatly improve the psychological well-being of carers. Their ultimate aim is to make the online therapy platform available nationwide.
This project is an important initiative that recognizes the mental health challenges faced by carers of individuals with dementia. By providing a digital therapy platform, the researchers hope to offer much-needed support and resources to carers who are at a higher risk of mental health issues. Through the completion of online sessions and the support of a therapist, carers can learn how to manage difficult thoughts and feelings while still taking care of their own well-being. The success of this project could potentially lead to the widespread availability of the platform, benefiting carers across the UK.