THE Alzheimer’s Society are calling for volunteers to help with an online trial for carers of people with dementia in Wiltshire.

The charity and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust are launching UK’s largest research trial, Caring For Me and You, of support for carers of people with dementia today (Feb 4).

The research trial that will test tailored online cognitive behavioural therapy and support specifically designed to help carers find ways of coping with the pressures of their role.

Many carers find it very difficult to access any help and support so instantly available online therapy may provide a desperately-needed solution.

Caring For Me and You will test whether online access to CBT or tailored information can help support carers’ mental health.

Susan May, 54, lives near Royal Wootton Bassett and cared for her mother, who was diagnosed with mixed dementia, for many years before she moved into a care home.

She said: “As an only child I felt a huge responsibility to look after my mother. I was constantly on standby in case she needed me.

“I was under a lot of stress; the whole experience was, and still is, physically and emotionally draining. I felt very isolated and didn’t know where to turn to for help.

“When someone you care about is diagnosed with dementia it’s devastating. There is so much to cope with and I had to battle to even get a diagnosis for my mother, even though I knew something wasn’t right. Knowing there was support available for me, to cope with the situation, would have been a huge help.”

The research team is looking for carers of people with dementia who have felt the emotional pressures of caring, and have access to a computer, to come forward and help test the effectiveness of new online therapy packages.

CBT is a well-established treatment for anxiety and depression that helps people to develop coping strategies by working through their thoughts, feelings, and approaches to particular situations.

Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Unpaid dementia carers prop up our health and social care system. This silent army spend 1.3 billion hours a year providing care. This can take an enormous toll on their emotional health and wellbeing.”

The research team are asking for carers of people with dementia to check their suitability to take part in the study at