Economic Case Study

EUFAMI’s Caring4Carers survey found that the majority of informal caregivers are women, caring for a son or daughter and spending an average of 22 hours a week in caregiving activities. The stress placed on informal caregivers can be significant. Approximately 40 percent report worrying about their own physical health, with nearly one third fearing that their role as a caregiver detrimentally impacts their physical health. The caregiver’s mental health may also be at risk: nearly one-in-three feel depressed. In addition to health stress comes financial stress and social isolation. This culminates in a sizable time investment, equivalent to a job, however often without adequate support structures.

The Economic Case for Caring is a project which builds on our Caring4Carers survey by looking at how unpaid (informal) care provided by family members and other unpaid carers is an important element of any mental health system, yet too often these contributions are not fully recognised or appreciated. Policymakers are unlikely to be aware of the extent of the cost if they had to replace all of this ‘informal’ care with formal mental health services and support.

EUFAMI, in collaboration with The London School of Economics, is looking to obtain credible evidence on the economic contribution of family/informal carers of persons with severe mental ill health (in particular schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression) in order to have compelling evidence to share with policy makers at European and national levels to encourage investment in caring 4 carers, i.e. investment in policies and services which support family/informal carers, and strengthen joint advocacy activities EUFAMI undertakes with other NGOs.

As part of this project research surveys will be carried out in 8 countries (Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain and the United Kingdom).  The surveys have been commissioned and are being conducted by at EUFAMI, the European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness, Leuven, Belgium. The London School of Economics and Political Science, in London, UK are working with EUFAMI to analyse and summarise the findings from the surveys.

If you would like to complete one of the Surveys, please click on the icon showing your country flag:

Questions related to this project can be addressed to Gwen Crawford at

EUFAMI is grateful to Ferrer Internacional S.A., Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, Lundbeck A/S and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd for grants received in order to enable EUFAMI to carry out this important work in collaboration with the London School of Economics.