A quarter of a million unpaid carers in Northern Ireland have suffered negative health effects, research has found.
In a YouGov survey, 32% of current or former unpaid carers said supporting their loved one had led to negative effects on their health and wellbeing.
Campaigners described the findings as "damning".
They said the health of unpaid carers is being jeopardised by political stalemate at Stormont and "the failure to create a fit-for-purpose health service to support them".
They have called for regular access to respite and greater provision of social care packages to give unpaid carers a break and help protect them from exhaustion and burnout.
The results of the survey have been published on Carers Week.
"We can't keep asking unpaid carers to prop up the health service and provide hundreds of thousands of hours of free care every week with little-to-no support in return," said Craig Harrison from Carers NI.
"They need regular access to respite, high quality social care packages and a health service that treats their needs as a priority.
"The last health minister published a roadmap to make those things a reality, but it won't be delivered so long as Stormont sits in a deep freeze."
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.