The importance of referring Carers

Meeting Of Support Group

Welcome back to my blog site. It has been a while since I did a post about carers, so this time I thought to raise an important topic. This topic will be on the use of referring carers.

Caring can be a lonely experience for many, especially if the family structure is not so big. Many families might actually have one main person doing the role of the carer and they should be identified.

Around the UK we have what is called Carer Centres and services for carers, although I mainly want to focus on Carer Centres. As you might already know, due to cuts in local authority budgets, a lot of carer support is under strain, which means carers now lack event more resources to help them cope with providing that much needed care.

If you are not sure what a Carer Centre is, here are some examples below.

Southwark Carers – http://www.southwarkcarers.org.uk/
Lewisham Carers – http://www.carerslewisham.org.uk/
Greenwich Carers – http://www.thestablesse7.com/
Sutton Carers – https://carers.org/partner/sutton-carers-centre
Lambeth Carers Hub – http://carershub.org.uk/
Wandsworth Carers – http://www.carerswandsworth.org.uk/

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Carer Centre

There are some carers who feel they do not need any extra support and that is fine, but I am betting on the vast majority of carers who would be thankful of being recognised as a carer and having their welfare supported.

I sometimes hear health professionals, social workers and those who may lack carer awareness complain that carers demand much from them, especially when the health service is suffering under the strain of diminishing resources. With such an impact on the National Health Service and social services, it has become even more important to refer carers to a Carers Centre.

Carers can then at least have a chance to be assessed regarding their needs as a carer, plus carers who are referred will not have to face isolation all the time.  When I mean assessed, it is not in the strictest sense, carers being assessed is that they are in touch with the caring community, people are aware what the carer is going through each time they turn up at the Carer Centre.  Carers should not just be provided with a carers assessment and then told to go away and get on with it without any support.

In regards to isolation, I do not mean just isolated from other carers, but from support services as well.

Young couple gets counseled by a doctor

Tailored information can be provided to carers from a Carers Centre and if information is not present, carers can often request information to help them in their role.

The tragedy of referring carers depends if health professional, social worker or those coming into contact with carers are actually carer aware. If there is a failure to recognise a carer, then further strain is placed not only on the carer, but on the person the carer is trying to support, eventually this comes full circle as there is a risk that carers back out of their role due feeling unsupported and thus the patient or service user completely relies on the social/health service.

Services must be carer aware and refer carers to Carer Centres, groups and services. It is also important to note that referring carers should not be another way of passing the buck, social services and health professionals need to be trained and supported in providing support to carers, but I am aware that is not their primary role.

The stakes are a lot higher due to the Care Act 2014, failure to recognise, support or refer carers can raise a red flag showing services are not filling their obligation to support vulnerable people. Carer Assessments need to pick up where the carer is struggling and set out a plan where support can guard the family & carer against a crisis.

It is time we recognise the vital role carers play in ever diminishing resources, carers benefits cannot always be the answer even though many carers are already providing an unpaid role.  Plus not all carers choose to be carers, but they certainly think twice about leaving their loved ones in the care of services struggling as it is and thus decide to take on the role of carer.

Thanks for reading.

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

art-meWelcome to another one of my ‘caringmind’ blog posts. My site and sometimes videos help to raise awareness of carers caring for those suffering mental health problems. When I mean carers, I do not mean care-workers. I am talking about unpaid carers, that being a friend, relative, those very close to the cared for.

Also to note, I like to raise awareness of mental health campaigns, the last one I did was on mental health month, but this one will be on mental health awareness week 2017.

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For mental health awareness week, which is promoted by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme for 2017 is “uncovering why too few are thriving with good mental health”.

A bit about the Mental Health Foundation – Their vision is for a world with good mental health for all. Their mission is to help people understand, protect and sustain their mental health. ‘Prevention’ is at the heart of what they do, because the best way to deal with a crisis is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Lets look at the Mental Health Foundation’s key findings in regards to mental health awareness week.

– More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
– Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health
– The figures show that the experience of poor mental health is not evenly distributed. If you are female, a young adult, on low income.

The Mental Health Foundation wishes for a 5 step process for Mental Health thriving in the UK.

1. Programme to spread public understanding about Mental Health
2. Investigate ways to prevent poor mental health.
3. A report to track progress
4. health checks to help those manage mental health
5. funding into mental health research.

You can find more about Mental Health Foundation off their site : www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

As a last note, don’t think that when Mental Health Awareness week finishes, people then go about their business. There will still be those out there struggling with mental health and carers struggling to support them and their own mental health.

It is important to get involved and stay involved. There are a number of ways. During the campaign, you can hold an event, spread the word (like I do), share your story and more.

Family

Well I certainly wish for good mental health for all regardless if your a service user, carer, health professional, young or old, black or white it doesn’t matter.

See you next time.

Mental Health Month

MHMWelcome back to my blogsite. As usual, a quick word. I raise awareness of mental health from a carer or caregiver perspective. Usually this channel is dedicated to carers, but there is always space for discussing mental health.

The video below is to help raise awareness of Mental Health Month, which takes place over in the states.

Mental Health Month occurs during the month of May and the theme for Mental Health Month is Risky Business.

Continue reading

Mental Health Carers Forum – April 2017

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Welcome to the April 2017 Mental Health Carers forum updates.

The MH Carers forum usually takes place once a month from Carers Lewisham. The carers who attend the forum are those who are unpaid looking for someone suffer mental health, but the forum has a few important notes.

The first is that most carers who attend are very active on involvement in their mental health trust, that being South London & Maudsley, we have built this forum to engage with service providers, clinical staff and the council.

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So what was discussed at the forum?

  • Updates on the trusts carers strategy.
  • How the Triangle of Care regional meeting went
  • Updates on E-support for Families and Friends of Individuals affected by Psychosis
  • Updates on the trusts online support system, My Health Locker.
  • Feedback from the members

If you want to see the short video, please press play on the video below.

Triangle of Care regional meeting updates

At April’s Forum, I spoke about the recent regional Triangle of Care meeting held over South West London & St George’s site. The meeting was well attended by many mental health trusts across the England.  The Triangle of Care is a policy from the national carers organisation Carer’s Trust.  The policy has very strong guildlines to strengthen communication and support for Carers, service users and health professionals.

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Unfortunately there has been talk that SLaM is very slow in signing up to the policy, which actually is not such a bad thing if they are not prepared, but what really is the concern is there seems to be the lack of interest and at the forum there was a major discussion between the carers  why this is happening, this is mentioned in the video.

I had to add that I was disappointed no member of staff from SLaM did not attend the last regional update of the Triangle of Care meeting.

Feedback from the members

We then got feedback from several members of the forum.  The twist of this forum is that carer members have a vast knowledge about the mental health trust they are involved in.  I feel one big reason the forum was set up is that hundred’s of carers still know very little of what is going on at the hospitals and in the community.  We of course can point them to the SLaM website, but it is hard to discuss the updates that way, plus carers feel there is a lack of connection if there are major issues.

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Updates on E-support for Families and Friends

I then spoke about the E-Support system from research being done at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.  I attended the focus group at the IoPPN on the 26th of April, although I unfortunately had to miss the latest campaign from MIND, who were hosting a workshop….watch this space.

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The focus group at the IoPPN went very well and the researchers have been very busy visiting carers groups.  They attended the SLaM Lewisham carers support group, which I thought was excellent.  At the focus group I got to see the prototype of the new E-Support package and I fully support such a resource since isolated carers need some way to get hold of information.  Other exciting news is that carers from other trusts wish to join the forum I chair and hold to develop their own forum or group since they feel there is a lack of groups in their area.

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Understanding SLaM Carers Strategy

Lastly I spoke about the Trusts Carer’s strategy and why it is part of the forum’s interest to see the progress of the carer’s strategy.  I spent quite a long time producing the slides on examining the strategy and how the forum could work with those who have produced the strategy, many good things were said about the strategy particularly how SLaM has involved carers in producing the strategy, but also many negatives points were picked up on how effective SLaM was in recognizing carers, being slow on Triangle of Care and other issues.

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Well I hope that concludes the April 2017 Mental Health Carer’s Forum, it is important carers get a platform to air their views, the forum is not a support group, we are not here to listen to carer’s stories, forums wish to engage with clinical staff and service provides. Carers need to know what is going on and request why certain things are happening and what is not happening.

Bullying in schools & workplace

Welcome back to another blog post from Matthew Mckenzie a carer from South London.  I have done another collaboration video on the subject of bullying, which is actually quite common in schools and in the workplace, although not just restricted to those two areas.

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Living with someone with a mental health illness

What is it like to live with someone suffering from a mental illness? I felt it was about time to do a quick write up about the situation.  This time I decided to collaborate with someone living through a mental illness in order to get their views.

The collaboration was from an experience mental health survivor Jessica Temple who has her own YouTube Channel.

https://www.youtube.com/user/jtemple1979/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0

We both did a video where I talk about my role as a carer and Jessica who is from the States talks about her experience as a Care Taker.

Continue reading

World Health Day 2017 – Depression

Welcome to another one of my mental health awareness blog posts. This blog is about World Health Day 2017. Basically on the 7th of April 2017, the World Health Organisation campaigns on health conditions. For 2017, the theme for World Health Day is Depression.

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Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability Worldwide with more than 300 million people now living with depression.

However, what is depression?

Depression is more than just about feeling down or lacking energy.  Depression is more than just being upset for a few hours even though someone can say that they are depressed.  Depression at its worst levels can certainly be a clinical condition where it can be very difficult to cope and at worst depression can lead to people taking their lives.

Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition, this is clearly being misinformed.  So the point of World Health Day is to raise awareness and educate others about depression.

Types of Depression

I have done a short video about depression where I mention the different types of depression people can experience.  Please click the video to view it.

As the video explains, There are several types of depression and each can have such difficult problems sufferers have to cope with.

Major Depression.
Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Bipolar Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.
Psychotic Depression.
Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
Situational Depression.

The most important thing about depression is that sufferers need not just cope with depression alone. It is always important to try and seek help and talking is usually the first form of reaching out we can all do.

There are also levels of depression and it is important to talk to those close if you feel you are suffering depression or seek help from a health professional.

Due to increased rates of depression, it is vitally important that we all raise awareness of such a difficult symptom so we can educate others about the condition.

Feel free to check out WHO website for more information about World Health Day.

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/

Remember Carers of those suffering depression can be a vital partner and resource in fighting depression, so if suffering depression, it is also important to try open up to close friends and family, at least to those who can understand.

Thanks for reading.