Tag Archives: mental health

Triangle of care – Excellent NHS carer engagement

10177241_747738765268892_5890142387668348507_nIt has been a while since I blogged off my site, almost a month now. Still I have been very busy, lots going on and still lots to do. I run 4 carer forums each month and am also an unpaid carer working part time and contributing to so much in the community.

Yet I am aware many unpaid carers supporting those with mental health needs cannot easily engage with services. This is one of the many reasons why I chose to write this post. I am an unpaid mental health carer in south london, and have been involved with the Triangle of Care at a high level. Due to the involvement I am proud to be part of such a successful initiative. My trust has not been part of the Triangle of Care scheme even though I battle on, but it has got me wondering.

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What would it be like to be a carer whose NHS Trust is part of the Triangle of Care scheme?

If you do not know about the Triangle of Care policy, let me enlighten you.

Taken from the Carers Trust website, which is national charity fighting for the rights of young carers and carers alike.

“The Triangle of Care guide was launched in July 2010 by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now Carers Trust) and the National Mental Health Development Unit to highlight the need for better involvement of carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.”

Many Mental health NHS trusts up and down the country have taken the challenge and value the needs not only of their patients/service users, but also unpaid carers who often can be forgotten in Trust Policy, let alone in government policy.

The triangle of care gives six standards

1) Carers and the essential role they play are identified at first contact or as soon as possible thereafter.
2) Staff are ‘carer aware’ and trained in carer engagement strategies.
3) Policy and practice protocols re: confidentiality and sharing information, are in place.
4) Defined post(s) responsible for carers are in place.
5) A carer introduction to the service and staff is available, with a relevant range of information across the care pathway.
6) A range of carer support services is available.

I have mentioned such standards because there is a lot more to the Triangle of Care, but if you are not versed in policy then at least focus on the standards above.

So what could it be like being a carer linked to ToC?

If you are a carer whose mental health trust has signed or is working towards the triangle of care, I will list why it perhaps is a good thing.

1) You are lucky enough to have a trust working towards a national standard.
2) As a carer you can learn more about what your trust is doing for carers and their loved ones.
3) You can use these standards to protect your rights.
4) You have a mental health trust that can link into partner trusts all working together for the good of unpaid carers.
5) Standards that can be measured and assessed by others.
6) A mental health trust brave enough to change its culture on unpaid carers.
7) A way to hold mental health trusts to account on how it engages and provides services for carers.
8) Hidden issues that can be unraveled by triangle of care.

Obviously the list can go on and continue to go on, but an NHS trust that can put some resources to the Triangle of care should be held in high regard among carers.

I am not saying that the system is perfect, it is NOT a quick fix solution, especially in the era of NHS cuts, cuts to staff, cuts to community services and a lack of understanding in mental health. We are also living in a complex society where so much is demanded from us, be it Brexit, having to struggle for education, fragmentation in communities and the lack of volunteering since everyone wants to be better off.

All I am saying is if you are an unpaid carer thinking how can your NHS trust support, engage or value you, then please see what they are doing with the Triangle of Care.

Although the triangle of care is going through some changes. You can find out more about the Triangle of Care below.

https://professionals.carers.org/working-mental-health-carers/triangle-care-mental-health/triangle-care-membership-scheme

 

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Gone too Soon

Sad man sitting head in hands on his bed in a bedroom at home

Just to note this particular blog can be triggering and not just for those suffering mental ill health needs, but also for families and carers.

As you can tell by the title of this particular blog post, this centres on the devastating experiences which mental ill health can cause to families and loved once.

There are some families that do not often get a chance to share their experiences when something tragic has happened to the person they are trying to support or care, although I know full well that this can also happen two close friends, relatives and perhaps even a neighbour.

As a care of myself I know in the back of my mind that there will a time when I will have to fight a mental health crisis for the person I support. Perhaps I will succeed, but I know out there carers up and down the country will have to deal with the devastating experiences when a loved one by finally succumbs to mental ill health.

melancholy and sad young  woman  at the window in the rain

I’m afraid I’m not going to pull any punches, when I mean succumb to mental ill health. I am talking about suicides, deaths due to addiction (alcohol or drug related), death Due to an accumulation of medication side effects causing massive strain on physical health. I am talking when the mental health sufferer cannot cope anymore with dementia, Parkinson’s or degenerative illnesses affecting the brain.

I am not going to use this blog post to lay blame at anyone’s door. However I just would like to raise the issue that’s such experiences need to be highlighted and discussed. We should never expect families and mental health sufferers to just cope and get on with it.

Coping with death

It is never easy to try and deal the situation when someone loses a loved one two mental illness. Unpaid Carers and families can often blame themselves as if they feel they have not done enough to save the loved one’s life. Some people think mental illness can only affect the one person who has been diagnosed with the condition.

In some ways this is possible, but not often the reality. We should try to avoid putting people in boxes. When death strikes a family due to mental ill health, i’m sure that grief, depression and anxiety will affect those that was close to the patient or service user. If you were a carer caring for someone long-term suffering from mental health, the grief stricken experiences will climb to unsustainable levels.

As unpaid carers it is important to respectively raise the awareness of coping with death, especially if you have been a long time carer. We all need to work together with the health services and our loved ones to avoid situations where patients might end up being failed by the system.

If anything off this post has affected you please call Samaritans on

116 123 (UK)
116 123 (ROI)

Thanks for reading.

Top 70 Contributions to Psychiatry and Psychology

Relationship psychology concept created with man and woman heads profiles, vector logo or symbol of gender problems and conflicts in family, close relations and society. Classic style simple design.Its been a while since I have made another video. This one is back on the psychiatry field. In this video I have introduced a list of notable figures who have made an impact on sub fields of psychiatry.

I have made a video which can be viewed below showing the top 70 contributors to different fields within psychiatry.  It was not possible for me to include anymore due to time and length of the video.

The video includes names such as :-

Adolf Meyer
Carl Gustav Jung
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Eugen Bleuler
Eve Johnstone
Franco Basaglia
Frantz Fanon
Hans Steiner
Jaakko Seikkula
John Cade
Pierre Janet
Robert Spitzer
Seymour Kety
Viktor Frankl
Wilfred Bion

…and many more.

Hope you enjoy!!

The stigma of an unpaid Mental Health Carer

matthew-mckenzieWelcome back to another blog from unpaid carer in the south of London. As world Mental Health Day draws near, a lot of emphasis is placed on those suffering angel problems. I find it quite important that you must not forget the hidden Heroes who’s tape in when their loved ones are in most need. This is not to take away the difficult battles mental health survivors face, however all too often sigma hits out at more than one person.

Mental health stigma hits the family, the friend, the husband, the wife and even the neighbour. This blog will concentrate on another type of stigma, which can be all Too Well forgotten. I am going to talk about carer stigma. Now it is very important that not all unpaid carers suffer from carer stigma.

First you must differentiate what or who is an unpaid carer. I am talking about the person who suddenly finds themselves caring for someone close to them who has been unfortunate to pick up either physical or mental health problem. I am not talking about paid care workers, although I do admit care workers to find they can have a difficult job, they are paid for their role and can be protected by Union.

Arguments.

With carers they are not trained and often care out of closeness and love for the person they are trying to look out for. It gets really difficult if that person has a mental health illness.

The types of carer stigma.

So Let’s Begin, I cannot really produce an exhaustive list of different types of carer stigma, but the ones that i am showing i’ll probably the most recognisable types of carers take life out there.

Depends on the illness.

When a loved one become very unwell, he often try as hard as he can to support them. The problem is the more chronic the illness the more is stigma lash out. A good example is when a carer is caring for someone suffering psychosis, those suffering from this difficult illness can often present challenging behaviours. If such behaviour is out in public, then the challenge is not only faced by the mental health Survivor but also the carer.

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It only takes one person to ridicule the suffering from a mental health problem. This can then extend to the person family, the risk is once a community starts to gossip about the situation, it can cause the carer to become more isolated. This in turn leads to stigma of both mental health and carer. As a note not or carers go through this and it probably can depend upon the illness anyway.

The Label

Although not as devastating as the first form of carer stigma, it still can be rather destructive. Some people carry on caring and supporting those close to them out of desperation. They carry on caring regardless of the support mechanisms that amen applied to the family network.

At first it seemed really brave, it is great to hear a carer battle it out no matter what the situation. However there is one big problem, no matter what are the carers might say to this situation, the person still feels that they do not deserve the term of being labelled a carer. The problem is that this person will then like the support network available for carers.

Clashing forms of relations

This type of stigma is actually quite similar to the one mentioned previously. A good example is when a person marries someone they marry for better or worse. When the worst does arrived, the person cares especially out of love. They care because they are either the husband or wife. If you try to tell them that they are now a carer, that person may become very irritated. They refuse to be labelled as a carer, and yes this is the right, but the risk is lack of support network available to them.

This care stigma can also extend to other relations within the family, another good example is a young person caring for a parent, or even especially a young carer. Can you imagine as a child having to suddenly provide care for an older adult suffering a mental health condition?

The terrible characteristics of an unpaid mental health carer

There are several characteristics, which are aimed at carers. I am going to go through a few that come off the top of my head.

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Being labelled as lazy

All too often we have to work for a living, we have to pay our dues. The harder the work we do, the more we expect to be paid. The more complex the role, the more we expect be rewarded. There is this review going around that the Caring role is fairly easy, because some people think that it is easy, they think that the carer does not have to do much at all. This can lead to carers being labelled as lazy. Once a person is targeted as lazy, they do not really want to be labelled as a carer.

Being blamed

This is quite common in the field of psychology/psychiatry, especially in America. When someone is unfortunate enough to develop a mental health problem, all too often psychiatrists tend to probe the family structure. All too often, it says if the carer is not doing their job properly. It might even go so far as to state that the carer is causing the mental health relapse or has caused the mental health problem to manifest itself in the first place.

One of the main criticisms of psychiatry, is at one end it might exclude the carer in their supporting role/care plans or confidentiality and at the other end label the carer as the problem within care plans and assessments. This can lead to a person not really wanting to find the energy battling a mental health system that can misunderstand the caring role.

Confrontational

Another good example of how the mental health system might fail families and carers, is if the carer has experienced failures in support of their loved ones and even the care of them self. It then becomes only a matter of time before the carer becomes more confrontational. No one really wants to be labelled as aggressive, uncooperative and confrontational. This is just another label a person can do without, so why would they want to be labelled as a carer?

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Risk of declining health

Again this might depend upon the type of illness the person is trying to care for, the more chronic the illness, the most stressful situation is for the carer. Since the NHS is under severe strain, a person would have to think hard and long before they would want to commit themselves in becoming an unpaid carer. It is like that there has been a secret contract, stating that the carer now must take the role of the lack of staff within the health system. This could be administering medication, advocating, understanding side effects, understanding social welfare, mental health legal matters, engaging with doctors and also mental health advocate and peer supporters.

Is there any wonder why carers can end up with depression, anxiety, stress and worry? One could say that mental health illness can be catching.

Hiding it all away

I’m afraid I have bad news, for what I have mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Carer stigma. I did not want to make this blog post overly long. With the above issues mentioned, is it any wonder why someone wants to hide themselves from being labelled as a carer?

Recommended Carer books

10 Helpful Hints for Carers: Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia – June Andrews, Allan House

A Carer's Chaos - Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers is an easy-to-read guide for carers living with people with dementia. It provides simple, practical solutions to the everyday problems family carers can face when looking after a person with dementia.

A Carer’s Chaos – Julie Nancy Wiltshire

10 Helpful Hints for Carers Practical Solutions for Carers Living with People with Dementia

When Julie Wiltshire’s husband, David, was diagnosed with cancer twice, he faced a series of treatments made all the more difficult by multiple complications. In A Carer’s Chaos, Julie records the details of David’s long journey of cancer treatment, but also offers a unique perspective into life as a carer to a loved one, exploring the love, hate, anger, loneliness and fear experienced on a daily basis by a carer.

A Carer’s Odyssey – Anna Chan

A Carer's Odyssey - Anna Chan

In the first part of A Carer’s Odyssey, Anna Chan describes how she and her husband Jeff were devastated 16 years ago by the diagnosis of their daughter Emma’s severe neurological disorder, called Rett Syndrome.

A Gift for Carers – William Long

A Gift for Carers - William Long

This book was written following the author’s personal struggle with the psychological and physical pressures of caring for his mum. His experiences and research led him to develop a solution which counters the devastating effects of what the medical world refers to as “Caregiver Syndrome.” He identifies seven areas that make for a joyful life.

A Gradual Disappearance – Elizabeth Lonseth

A Gradual Disappearance - Elizabeth Lonseth

“Dementia is like a maze. Its victims get lost in the labyrinth of their own minds, bringing confusion and despair to themselves and to others around them. Families watch helplessly as their loved ones drift further and further away from reality, and when decisions are made, emotions often get in the way of what is really necessary.” – Dr. Sameh Elsanadi, MD Geriatric Psychiatrist

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers – Tony Frais

An Introduction to Coping with Depression for Carers

Looking after a person with depression can often leave carers emotionally and physically exhausted. This short, straightforward and easily understandable guide offers valuable advice on how carers can

BMA Carer’s Manual – British Medical Association

BMA Carer's Manual

Endorsed by the British Medical Association, this is the definitive guide to caring for the elderly or sick, offering practical advice and solutions for everyday concerns such as adapting living space and safe movement and handling. Step-by-step sequences explain essential activities such as helping someone in and out of a chair and special features focus on topics relating to common conditions.

Carer’s Bible – Amanda Waring

Carer's Bible

This accessible and detailed guide includes practical tips, checklists for best practice, descriptions of their experience from a wide range of carers that addresses solutions to common problems, and expert advice on how to deliver compassionate and dignified care to older people.

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder – Jenny Langley, Janet Treasure, Gill Todd

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Caring for a Loved One with an Eating Disorder: The New Maudsley Skills-Based Training Manual provides a framework for carer skills workshops which can be used by anyone working with these conditions.

Confidence to Care: A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer’s Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home – Molly Carpenter

Confidence to Care A Resource for Family Caregivers Providing Alzheimer's Disease Or Other Dementias Care at Home

Confidence to Care is the essential handbook for the family caregiver offering practical insights to understanding, managing and preventing the behavioral symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Touching, personal stories come together with practical and easy-to-access tips and techniques drawn from decades of caregiving experience by internationally-recognized experts.

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities – Geraldine Holt, Anastasia Gratsa, Nick Bouras

Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities

A practical and comprehensive introduction for carers to mental health problems, this accessible guide outlines a range of signs and symptoms of mental health problems that can affect people with intellectual disabilities. The guide explains why mental health problems develop, and advises on what can be done to help people with intellectual disabilities and carers themselves.

Living with Dying: A Complete Guide for Caregivers – Jahnna Beecham, Katie Ortlip

Living with Dying A Complete Guide for Caregivers

  • This easy-to-use guide for caregiving instructs you how to:
  • Have the conversation
  • Navigate the emotional and spiritual journey
  • Control pain
  • Address symptoms
  • Work with hospice
  • Care for yourself
  • Get your loved one’s affairs in order

Mindfulness for Carers: How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself – Cheryl Rezek

Mindfulness for Carers How to Manage the Demands of Caregiving While Finding a Place for Yourself

Carers are particularly vulnerable to feeling stressed, worried and worn down by the vast demands that often come with caregiving, be they physical, psychological or emotional. Mindfulness can be enormously beneficial to carers, whether professional or voluntary, as a means of developing greater inner stability, resilience and gaining more control over their thoughts, feelings and emotions.

No Saints Around Here: A Caregiver’s Days – Susan Allen Toth

No Saints Around Here A Caregiver's Days

When we promise “in sickness and in health,” it may be a mercy that we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Forcing food on an increasingly recalcitrant spouse. Brushing his teeth. Watching someone you love more than ever slip away day by day. As her husband James’s Parkinson’s disease with eventual dementia began to progress, writer Susan Allen Toth decides she intensely wants to keep her husband at home—the home he designed and loved and lived in for a quarter century—until the end.

Self-Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach – Pat Samples, Diane Larsen, Marvin Larsen

Self-Care for Caregivers A Twelve Step Approach

For those serving as a caregiver for a loved one, the authors of this down-to-earth, encouraging book can help you make the most of the experience without losing yourself in the process.

Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective – Mary E. Braine, Julie Wray

Supporting Families and Carers A Nursing Perspective

Understanding the perspective of carers is an essential aspect of nursing. Supporting Families and Carers: A Nursing Perspective offers insights into the fundamental principles of caring for families and carers irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or religion.

Take Care, Son: The Story of My Dad and his Dementia – Tony Husband

Take Care, Son The Story of My Dad and his Dementia

Hi Dad . . . can we have a chat about your dementia . . . Can you remember how it started?
When Ron Husband started to forget things – dates, names, appointments . . . daft things, important things – it took a while to realise that this was ‘a different form of forgetting’. But it was just the first sign of the illness that gradually took him away from the family he loved.

The Carer’s Handbook: Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role – Jane Matthews

The Carer's Handbook Essential Information and Support for All Those in a Caring Role

This indispensable guide aims to be a one-stop-shop for the huge percentage of the population who, now or later, find themselves in a caring role, whether that involves shopping for a housebound neighbour, or giving up work to care full-time for a disabled child or confused parent.

The Complete Carer’s Guide – Bridget McCall

The Complete Carer's Guide

There are around six million carers in the UK, a figure estimated to reach nine million by 3037. Being a carer can be rewarding, but it is often stressful and exhausting: it involves a range of tasks, such as providing personal care, managing medication and ensuring that the needs of the person being cared for are met. This practical, much needed guide discusses how to ensure that you have a life of your own while caring, how to make informed decisions and, most importantly, how to access the support and help you need.

The Essential Carer’s Guide – Mary Jordan

The Essential Carer_s Guide

Illustrated with individual case stories, this book covers physical, social, and financial needs, across the stages of immediate, intermediate and advanced care. It is useful as a practical companion for those caring for, or responsible for the care of, an elderly friend or relative.
The Selfish Pigs guide to caring – Hugh Marriot

The Selfish Pigs guide to caring

Over six million people in the UK…provide unpaid care for disabled or elderly relatives, friends or neighbours. Their job is long, lonely and hard, yet there is limited support and no formal training. As a result, carers suffer frequent damage to physical and mental health. Oddly, though carers by definition are anything but selfish pigs, they are liable to feelings of guilt, probably brought on by fatigue and isolation.

Where There is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual – Vikram Patel

Where There is No Psychiatrist A Mental Health Care Manual

Even though mental illnesses are common and cause great suffering in every part of the world, many health workers have a limited understanding about mental health and are less comfortable dealing with mental illness. This book is a practical manual for mental health care for the community health worker, the primary care nurse, the social worker and the primary care doctor, particularly in developing countries.

Young Carers and their Families: Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families – Saul Becker, Jo Aldridge, Chris Dearden

Young Carers and their Families Working Together for Children, Young People and Their Families

Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 who provide care for an ill or disabled parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home. They perform many of the same domestic, caring and other duties as adult carers but often without the recognition and support received by many adult carers.

Influential poem from Patrick Lee

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Welcome one and all to a new blog for the month of August. I have to apologise for not putting anything up for some weeks now since I have been really busy doing a lot of carer campaigning. To be honest I have not had much time to provide feedback from the 4 carer forums in South London.

I have also just recently come back from a lovely forum held over in West London, from the West London Collaborative, they do excellent work over there helping to build communities.

Going back to this particular post, I want to dedicate this blog post for its creative content. A while ago I met Patrick who provides peer support for those using the mental health services. He spoke to me how he used the power of poetry to help others express themselves. Poetry can be very creative and powerful in a non-combative way. Sometimes just saying things is hard enough, but if we use the power of poetry then anything is possible.

I have recently created a video about one of his poem’s which is from his book “The Nearly Man”. The Poem from the video is called “Cardboard City Dweller”. You can watch the full video below

 

Patrick has released several books of poetry, let me know if you want to try catch him in order to hear more about his work. I hope to do some more blogging real soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Lambeth MH Carers Forum update May 2018

IMG_20180531_195653Welcome to the May’s update of the Lambeth Mental Health Carer forum. It has been a while since I did an update for the forum, since I could not attend the previous Lambeth MH carer forum and forgot to blog about the other previous forums.

This forum caters for unpaid carers who are caring for someone with a mental health need, e.g. someone suffering from psychosis, eating disorder, depression, bipolar and other MH illnesses.

The forum is strategic and gives carers the involvement and empowerment to query, question and even compliment the mental health services in Lambeth and sometimes beyond e.g. we are hoping to have a representative from NHS england attend in future.

This Lambeth MH forum was on the 31st of May and was well attended with some very good questions and statements from the forum members. The Lambeth MH Carers forum is run from the 336 building off Brixton road.

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Guest speakers at the forum was Stacey Hemphill from the ‘Living Well Network Hub’ and also Lambeth Police Mental Health lead inspector Mark McLeavery.

Updates from Stacey was on how and why the Lambeth Living Well Network was started up and provides support people’s Mental Health and wellbeing. They liason with Lambeth GPs and those using the services.

Stacey talked about how the network engages with carers and what support they can provide service users. The Living Well network runs at the following places being the Mosaic Clubhouse on Effra Road, Clapham Methodist Church and also at 336 Brixton Road, you can call them on 0203-691-5080 or email them on slm-tr.lwnhub@nhs.net

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Next up was Inspector Mark McLeavery from the Lambeth Met Police. He spoke about how the Lambeth police engages with someone who is in a crisis out in public. The forum were very interested to hear how someone in crisis ends up at the Maudsley’ hospital ‘Central Place of Safety’.

Mark mentioned Lambeth has a challenging and high rate of mental health needs, plus the stigma of mental health can make things even more challenging.

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Mark Spoke about the Crisis Assessment Team ‘CAT’ and the use of ‘street triage’ Mark stressed that there are no use for police custody cells for those in mental distress, although I did mention the problem with beds and he mentioned at worse A&E might be the last option for someone in serve distress.

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The forum moved on to discuss GDPR and updates from Carers Hub Lambeth, it now seems that the charity ‘Help for Carers’ is being disbanded and Carers Hub Lambeth has split from it.

Going on to the minutes of the last forum that took place in April, the updates were from how Lambeth Healthwatch are engaging with its support networks. Updates on the King’s Health Partners ‘Mind & Body’ programme. Updates on C4C visits, plus the good news on the Money and MH Link update with government passing a law that supports those suffering debt from MH illness, which involved one of our very own carer member of the forum helping to lead on the project.

Other updates have been no news on the rota from SLaM regarding guest speakers, but I mentioned the trust were under reorganisation, so we will see what happens after that. There is also a push to have a Lambeth MP engage with the forum to see the wonderful work unpaid carers are trying to do to help their community.

This concludes the update from the Lambeth MH carers forum.