Welcome to another blog from mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. I have been meaning to do this blog at lot earlier, but unfortunately I have been fairly busy. Since being a carer for over 15 years and perhaps longer regarding my other loved ones. I have tried to make a commitment to engage with other carers and carer charities and organisations.
It just so happens that I was in luck because I managed to attend the Carers Trust Triangle of Care Conference, which took place on the 28th of April 2016. If you are a carer and have not heard about Carers Trust, let me briefly explain what they do?
Carers Trust is charity that works to support carers. They highlight, campaign and work with carers who are supporting family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. Carers Trust also have what we call the Triangle Of Care guide which highlights the importance of communication between service users and their carers, and organisations.
Many mental health trusts around the country have taken up on the Triangle of Care Scheme and some are yet to work closely with implementing the Triangle of Care. If you wish to understand more about the Triangle of Care, please see the link below.
Why is Triangle of Care Needed
Now to be honest, I want to blog as a carer and from a carers perspective since I think that is how carers relate to each other. I feel any strategy regarding the inclusion of carers and their families is most certainly needed. As a carer I have struggled to be heard, included, ignored and pushed to the side. I am so tired being blamed, hearing excuses and being avoided. If you are a mental health carer, then I am sure you might have come across any of the situations I have encountered. If you are still not sure what I mean by such things, then I ll exemplify.
Lets start by the problems of being heard?
For one I could call a mental health professional regarding the care of my loved one and then only find that the mental health professional is too busy. Perhaps a carer states their loved one is suffering under a mental health crisis and the Mental health staff states that the carer should not speak for their loved one and that its up to the service user to speak for themselves.
How about Carers being pushed to the side or being kept in the dark? Time and time again it has been known the families and carers struggle to be included in care plans or get carers assessments, they even can struggle to view a care plan and confidentiality has its reasons for being enforced, but confidentiality regarding the service user can also be abused as a smokescreen to keep carers in the dark.
I guess I could write a very long blog on such matters and one day I will, but such problems highlight the need for a carers policy that shows good practice on how to support carers.
So briefly from a carers perspective, what took place at the Carers Trust Triangle of Care Event? First we had a welcome from Ruth Hannan the Carers Trust Policy Manager. I have met Ruth Several times and I am amazed how much hard work and dedication she has put into the Triangle of Care, although this is not a single effort, I know Alan Worthington (Carer Advisor) and many more have made a collective effort to fight the cause to get carers included in the chain of communication.
Next we had a presentation from Tracy Collard from the Greater Manchester West Mental Health Foundation Trust. She did a great presentation on how her NHS Trust she works for got the Two Gold stars on the Triangle of Care policy, but it does not end there. What are the next steps? which is what the presentation was about.
The next presentation was from Anthoney McAnelly from the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust and we heard from Carer Ann Clarke and Sharon Gaughan from Mental Health Concern. We then heard from other trusts being the Somerset Partnership Foundation Trust and the Norfolk & Suffork NHS Foundation Trust.
So many presentations and panels impressed me, the important panel came from Carers where I got to hear how and why the Triangle Of care is important to carers, their loved ones and the Mental Health Professionals they work with.
I also enjoyed the presentation from Liz Holland & Louise Howard from Kingston University on implementing Triangle of Care in Education and forming the partnership with Sutton Carers. Well done Sutton Carers!!
As I arrived for the event, I must admit it was not always so easy to mix and chat with those present, but the ones I did talk to were very engaging. I was very happy to see a representative and carer Lead from the West London Mental Health Trust at the event. I also spoke to members of the Enfield Carers Centre. It was a shame I could not find more representatives from other London Mental Health Trusts, I am just not sure what the problem could be.
We really need more carers under each of the London Trusts to get interested in their family and carers strategy. Us carers need to know why such Mental Health Trusts are not working hard enough to incorporate the Triangle of Care.
Usually I do not travel too far for events unless I feel they are critical and I could get more insight and information on what happens at such events. I felt very welcomed at the Carers Trust event and I really hope they do more. I hope more carers are aware of the triangle of care and call for it. The food at the event was most delicious and I got too greedy. I also made a few contacts at the event.
For far too long Families and carers are at the far end of communication regarding care and support. Us carers need to step up and insist on change, the Triangle of Care could be that change carers so desperately need.
Thanks for reading my blog