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.

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