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Family Caregiver Support - Strategies and Tools to Promote Caregivers’ Mental and Emotional Health

Name of the Project: Family Caregiver Support - Strategies and Tools to Promote Caregivers’ Mental and Emotional Health

Project Number: 2018-1-AT01-KA204-039210

Project Coordinator: E-C-C Verein fuer interdisziplinaere Bildung und Beratung (Austria)

Type of Project: Erasmus +, Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. Strategic Partnerships for adult education

Project Lifetime: 1st of November 2018 until 31st of October 2020 


P1 - E-C-C Verein fuer interdisziplinaere Bildung und Beratung (Austria)

P2 - MEDRI - Sveuciliste U Rijeci, Medicinski Fakultet, (Croatia)

P3 - INTEGRA - INSTITUT, Institut za razvoj clovekovih potentialov (Slovenia)

P4 - QUALED - obcianske zdruzenie pre kvalifikaciu a vdelavanje  (Slovakia)

P5 - Center for Social Innovation LTD (Cyprus)

P 6 – Galway – National University of Ireland (Ireland)

P 7 – Instituto Politécnico do Porto (Portugal)

P 8 - IUL - Akadimaiko Diadiktyo (Italy)



Project Summary:

Mental disorders are highly prevalent in Europe and impose a major burden on individuals, society and the economy. They represent 22% of the EU’s burden of disability, measured as Years Lived with Disability. In addition, in 2015, there were an estimated 9.6 million people in EU countries living with dementia, equivalent to nearly one in every 50 people. Higher life expectancy will undoubtedly lead to increase of these figures in the years to come.

Family caregivers play a central role in the care of persons with severe mental illness. The majority of caregivers live with the illness of their affected relative 24 hours of the day, each day of the year, and they spend, according to a survey, an average of 6 to 9 hours per day providing care. Additionally, 36% are the only caregiver. Despite their important role, caregivers frequently feel undervalued by the health care system. Research shows that family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling mental conditions are themselves at risk. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems arise from complex caregiving situations and the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives. Medical advances, shorter hospital stays, and expansion of home care technology have placed increased care responsibilities on families, who are being asked to shoulder greater care burdens for longer periods of time. During the preparation of this proposal, we found that in most EU countries the support of family caregivers concerns financial and insurance aspects only. Apart from information in monetary or insurance matters, family members are left alone without the possibility to get instant access for social and psychological support.

Therefore, the overall objective of this project is to empower family members as caregivers and to give them instant and easy-to understand access not only to relevant medical information, but also to psychological support for their own needs.

The objectives of this project are:

  • to empower citizens to develop self-confidence and patients competence in their caring for family members with mental illness: We will develop a Guide and a Resource Pack to support caregivers. The Guide will provide secure quality information, support, and resources for family caregivers of patients with chronic mental diseases and cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s, psaychotic disorders, Parkinson’s, dementia and other illnesses to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. The Family Caregivers Support Resource Pack will consist of two main sections: Caring for YOU and Caring for the Individual. The latter section is further divided into Child, Youth, Adult, and Older Adult sections to reflect caring for individuals across the lifespan and the responsibilities associated with caregiving;
  • to ensure immediate access to these products: we wil develop the Family Caregivers Support e-Platform which will support the delivery of all materials of the project and will also support online interactive tools such as forums, blogs, and social networking applications, and through mobile applications for smart phones;
  • to include refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have no or only little command of the host country’s language: we will produce translations of the materials also into Arabic and Pashtun.


The primary target groups for our project are adults who are caring for a family member with mental disease. The secondary target group are people working in health and social care organisations who can inform family caregivers about the existence of our Guidelines and Resource Pack or use the materials in their information and counselling activities. Also refugee and migrant counsellors belong to this target group, as they can disseminate the materials among their clients. Stakeholders are the key actors in public health care and institutions dealing with migrants and the integration of refugees.


Coordination of the project in ESS / Researchers involved:

Prof.ª Regina Silva

Prof.ª Paula Portugal

Prof.ª Sílvia Fernandes


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