+44 (0)121 301 2896

Helpful Services for Carers, Families and Friends

Find out more about national, local and international services:


There are several national organisations which provide helplines and information services that may be helpful. All have very informative websites with lots of information about local support services, benefits and how you can look after your own physical and mental health and general wellbeing.

Here are the contact details and helpline phone numbers for the main organisations (Please check charges as not all are free lines):

NHS Carers Direct Helpline

Carers Direct Helpline: 0300 123 1053

The cost of the call is the same as a call to a number beginning 01 or 02 (known as geographic numbers). Ask if you need a translator.

You can also access their webchat helpline

Helpline and webchat opening hours:

Monday to Friday:  9am to 8pm

Weekends: 11am to 4pm

If you prefer to email use the Carers Direct online enquiries service – a Carers Direct adviser will normally respond within 24 hours of you submitting your enquiry, excluding bank holidays.

The NHS Carers Information service offers help and support to carers. The helpline advisers can give you information to help make decisions about your personal support needs and the needs of the person you’re looking after. This includes information on assessments, benefits, direct payments, individual budgets, time off, work or education.

Carers Direct provides information, advice and support on carers’ issues but is not able to provide on-going casework. They can put you in touch with specialist national or local sources of help, including carers’ centres, social care and self-help networks.

There is also an online guide to support and benefits for carers and to carer’s assessments

NHS 111 – The NHS offers an urgent and emergency care, free 24 hour helpline – call 111 or access online

Carers Trust

The Carers Trust charity provides carers with information and support throughout the UK. Their website has information about all issues related to caring.


plus you can:

find out about local services for carers

link to a carer online forum

Head Office telephone: 0300 772 9600

Email : info@carers.org

Carers UK

Carers UK is a carer led national membership charity for carers offering expert help, support and information to all carers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The information and advice offered covers a range of subjects relating to caring including:

• Benefits and tax credits
• Carers employment rights
• Carers assessments and how to get support
• Services available to carers
• How to complain effectively and challenge decisions


Carers UK Advice line: 0808 808 7777

Mondays and Tuesdays 10am to 4pm.

Carers UK Forum is an online community of carers where you can talk with other carers, sharing experiences, ask questions or just let off steam by logging in and joining the conversation.

It includes a forum specifically about mental health which may be useful if you are caring for someone with mental health difficulties.

UPFRONT guide to caring is an online tool to help you find your way through the maze of benefits and entitlements. It is especially useful if you are new to caring, – fill in your details, spend a couple of minutes answering questions and it will guide you to the information you need.

Citizens Advice

National Adviceline: 03444 111 444

Text Relay : 03444 111 445

Adviceline open: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers

Or you can talk to a trained adviser online. You can:

Family action

Support for parents and carers

Helpline Familyline: 0808 802 6666

Text 07537 404 282

Helpline open: Monday to Friday – 10am – 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Weekends – 10am to 1pm

Email: familyline@family-action.org.uk


Mind was set up to make sure that no one has to face a mental health problem alone, in England and Wales, and offers help and information on its website and via its helplines


Mind infoline:  0300 123 3393

Or Text 86463

Or you can chat online during helpline opening hours

Email: info@mind.org.uk

The Mind Infoline provides help on mental health issues and information

Mind legal line: 0300 466 6463

Email: legal@mind.org.uk

The Mind Legal line provides legal information and general advice on mental health law

Both helplines are open Monday to Friday – 9am to 6pm – closed Bank Holidays.


A charity working to prevent young suicide – for children and young people under 35, who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, and those supporting them.

If you are worried about someone you are caring for you can check out their online information

Or ring their helpline – HOPELINEUK:  0800 068 4141


Monday to Friday –  9am – 10pm

Weekends and Bank Holidays – 2pm – 10pm

Text   07786 620 9697

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink provides expert, accredited advice and information to those affected by mental health problems in England and has dedicated pages for carers, families and friends within a carers’ hub section.


Helpline: 0300 5000 927

Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 4pm

This helpline is run by the Rethink mental illness advice service and offers practical help on carers rights and issues relating to mental health.

You can also contact their advice and information service online by filling out a contact form or chatting online.

The online webchat service is available Monday to Friday 10.00am to 1pm.

Samaritans (UK)

Samaritans offer a round the clock listening service for people when they need help. You can talk to Samaritans at any time you like, in your own way, and off the record, about whatever’s getting to you – you don’t have to be feeling suicidal.


Helpline: 116 123

Helpline is open 24 hours every day of the year and is free to call from both landlines and mobiles.

Or email: jo@samaritans.org  – email response time is 24 hours


Sane is a mental health charity offering emotional support, and help and information on its website, and via a helpline.


SANEline:  0300 304 7000

Open daily  4.30pm to 10.30pm

Or use their support forum:

Sane support forum – this provides a space where mutual support ison offer for anyone affected by mental illness.

Staying Safe – from suicidal thoughts

If you are worried about someone you are supporting – they may have told you for example that they’re struggling and wondering if life is worth living – the Staying Safe site is an excellent resource.

The website offers help and advice on: keeping people safe from thoughts of harm and suicide, finding support, and discovering hope of recovery.

This website also includes specific information for carers and practical help on making a Safety Plan.

Support in Mind Scotland

Support in Mind provides help and information to those affected by mental health problems in Scotland


Support in Mind Scotland has a National Information Service

Telephone : 0131 662 4359

or chat online on the website during opening hours

Open Tuesday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm

Email: info@supportinmindscotland.org.uk

Support Line

Support Line provide a confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue.

Supportline: 01708 765200

E-mail: info@supportline.org.uk


Other organisations providing information and support for friends and families, which are appropriate to specific groups:

Age UK

Age UK provides help and information to people in later life and their families, friends and carers


Helpline: 0800 678 1602  –  open 365 days from 8am – 7pm.  For advice on money, care or health.




Al-Anon offers advice for families and friends of those with alcohol problems across the UK and Ireland


Helpline: 0800 0086 811

Every day   10am to 10pm

Email: helpline@al-anonuk.org.uk

Alzheimer’s Society

The Alzheimer’s Society provides help and advice for those supporting people with dementia


National Dementia Helpline: 0300 222 11 22

Or you can join the online community ‘Talking Point’ – open 24/7 to share experiences with others.

Scotland        www.alzscot.org

Helpline for Scotland: 0808 808 3000 – open 24 hours

Dementia UK

Dementia UK provide specialist support for families facing dementia – including, when needed, Admiral Nurses.

Admiral nurses are mental health nurses specialising in dementia care who give expert practical, clinical and emotional support to families living with dementia. Usually funded by a partnership of the Dementia UK charity and local services.

The Dementia UK website also has key information about dementia.

To ask for support from an Admiral nurse and/or find out about local services:

Dementia UK national helpline: 0800 888 6678

Monday to Friday: 9am to 9pm

Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 5pm

Email: helpline@dementiauk.org.

Families Anonymous

Families Anonymous offers help and support for families and friends affected by another’s abuse of mind-altering substances, or related behavioural problems. Families Anonymous has groups, spread throughout the country, which meet regularly.


Helpline: 0207 4984 680

Online forum

Independent Age

For older people, including advice about care, money and health.

Helpline: 0800 319 6789

Helpline open: Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6.30pm and Saturdays 9am to 1pm

Email: advice@independentage.org

The Mix 

The Mix is a UK based charity that provides free, confidential support for young people under 25 via online, social and mobile – it also includes mental health information.

Helpline: 0808 808 4994

Helpline open: 4pm to  11pm, 7 days a week.

Crisis text message service:

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Text THEMIX to 85258

Webchat: through the website.

Open 4pm – 11pm, 7 days a week.

The Money Advice Service

For advice about money and benefits including information about money problems and poor mental wellbeing.

Telephone: 0800 138 7777

Typetalk: 18001 0800 915 4622

Helpline open: Monday to Friday – 8am to 6pm

The National Autistic Society 

UK charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger syndrome) and their families. Provides information, support and services, and campaigns for a better world for autistic people.

Autism Helpline: 0808 800 4104

Monday to Thursday: 10am to 4pm

Friday: 9am to 3pm

Or contact the Autism Helpline via their online enquiry form.


Local Councils have the overall responsibility to arrange an assessment of carer needs for carers in their area and may also have carers units and/or information for carers in their local areas.

You can use this online search using your postcode or nearest town to find details of your local adult social care services.

Many towns, cities and communities have services such as those listed below that offer advice, information and support including:

Carers Centres

Citizens Advice Bureaux

Local GP Practices

Local Clinical Commissioning Groups

Local Community and Faith Centres

Local Carers Groups

Local Libraries

Local Mental Health Community and Early Intervention Teams

Local Social Services or Social Care Department of the local authority


Support for Birmingham and Solihull area carers:

Birmingham City Council

Telephone: 0121 303 1234

Birmingham City Council has commissioned a range of support for carers which is available via the Birmingham Carers Hub.

The Carers Hub is run by Forward Carers – a group of not for profit organisations.


Carers Hub Information and Advice Line:   0333 006 9711 (low cost call)

Birmingham Carers Hub is open:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday:  8.45am to 5.00pm

Wednesday: 8.45am – 6.45pm

Out of hours you can leave a message or email, including your name and phone number, and someone from the team will call or email  you back.

Email:   info@birminghamcarershub.org.uk

Forward Carers also offers city-wide carer information sessions – see where and when here

Carers Trust Solihull

Carers Trust Solihull, part of the UK-wide Carers Trust, offers support services and outreach to adults, young people and children who care for family and friends who have a long term illness, disability or addiction in the Solihull area:


Telephone:  0121 788 1143

You can also use their online contact form

Or email:  centre@solihullcarers.org

Chinese Community Centre

Chinese Community Centre Birmingham provides services that meet the social, health, welfare and development needs of the Chinese community in Birmingham including support for carers of people with mental health issues

Carer support availability:

Appointment based Monday and Tuesday 10.00 – 16.00

Drop in Sessions Friday 10.00 -12.00

Urgent support call 0121 685 8510


Forward Thinking Birmingham (0-25) 

0-25 year olds (or up to 35 for those experiencing a first episode of psychosis) living in Birmingham and experiencing mental health problems are now seen by the same service – Forward Thinking Birmingham. This provides support, care and treatment no matter where you live in the City, or how complex your needs. The only requirement is that you are registered with a Birmingham GP.

Referrals to the service are made via their Access Centre team. You can make a secure online referral or telephone to ask for advice and support on:

Telephone: 0300 300 0099

Access Centre opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

The helpline is also staffed by the crisis team outside Access Centre opening hours to provide crisis support 24/7 – seven days a week.

The Forward Thinking Birmingham site also has a range of useful online resources including videos to help with relaxation, mindfulness and improving sleep.

Pause Drop-in Service – Birmingham

Pause is a city centre drop-in service in Digbeth, Birmingham – which provides advice and support from a team of therapists, youth workers and volunteers.

Opening Times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 10am – 6pm

Wednesday: 12pm – 8pm

Saturday and Sunday: 11am – 4pm.


In addition the following national websites also provide information on health conditions and treatments which might be helpful to families and friends:

Department of Health and Social Care

NHS (England)

Health and Social Care Northern Ireland

NHS Scotland

Department of Health Wales


(National Institute of Health and Care Excellence)

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Scottish Recovery Network


Most of the information outlined above relates to the UK countries – other countries may have a similar framework of organisations that can offer information and advice to carers. The following sites may be of interest:

World Health Organization

Eufami (European Family Movement)

World Federation for Mental Health

ISPS – The international society for psychological and social approaches to psychosis

International Mental Health Collaboration Network

International Society for Mental Health Online


The National Federation of Mental Health and Welfare party in Japan is referred to as MinnaNet which means Everyone’s Network (for those affected by mental health difficulties). This site is in Japanese.

If your organisation would like to be listed here why not contact us?





Helpful services for carers
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