A worrying 64% of carers have never accessed any support services, such as respite breaks or counselling, and have only sought help from family and friends according to new research by Carers Trust.

Furthermore, 60% of those that have been caring for more than five years have done so without any extra support.

The new research reveals that almost half of carers struggle on with their caring role without realizing there is any help available.

Anne Roberts, Chief Executive of Carers Trust said: "As this survey shows many unpaid carers have never accessed any support services to help them in their caring role. We already know that many carers simply don’t have any awareness of the kind of help that is out there and what a huge difference it could make to their lives."

The survey of 500 unpaid adult carers also finds that long term caring without support can cause serious problems in carers’ lives. Almost 6 in 10 said that being a carer had a negative impact on their working life. Over half said that their mental health has suffered due to their caring role, and over a quarter said both their physical and mental health has been negatively impacted by their caring role.

Film and TV stars Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley are among the well-known names supporting Carers Trust. Dame Judi Dench said: ‘There are almost six million carers in the UK and the number is rising. Many of those carers are unaware of the support that is available to them and continue looking after their family or friends without any help and often at a cost to their own health and wellbeing.’

Carers Trust, recently formed by the merger of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care, works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, who has agreed to be President of Carers Trust said: ‘Carers Trust will provide a united and stronger voice for unpaid carers which will enable us to continue to raise awareness of carers’ issues with Government, other policy makers and the general public and hopefully increase funding opportunities to develop and deliver the services so needed by carers and those they care for.’