Mental Health Carers - The National Picture


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My overview of the issues my work addresses, and our organisation\'s solutions.

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Mental Health Carers - The National Picture

  1. 1. Mental health carers: an national overview <ul><li>Drew Lindon </li></ul><ul><li>Policy and Development Officer </li></ul><ul><li>(January 2009) </li></ul>
  2. 2. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers <ul><li>Who are we? </li></ul><ul><li>Set up in 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>Work in partnership with a network of 144 carers centres (22 in London) </li></ul><ul><li>Principal source of direct support and services to carers (350,000 in 07/08) </li></ul><ul><li>Use our expertise to influence policy and public opinion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Our work with mental health carers <ul><li>All Carers Centres offer support to carers looking after someone with a mental health condition </li></ul><ul><li>41 of our 144 Centres have specialist mental health carers support staff, who link to local social care and health services </li></ul><ul><li>Joint work with other organisations nationally - e.g. Royal College of Psychiatrists, National Treatment Agency, Mental Health Foundation </li></ul>
  4. 4. Mental health carers: the stats <ul><li>There are over 50,000 children and young </li></ul><ul><li>people looking after someone with a mental </li></ul><ul><li>health problem in the UK 2 </li></ul>There are up to 1.5 million people in the UK caring for a relative or friend with a mental health problem 1
  5. 5. This means: <ul><li>1 in 4 carers are mental health carers </li></ul><ul><li>1 in every 40 people is a mental health carer 3 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Mental health carers: what do they do? <ul><ul><li>Advocacy – help with correspondence and bills, liaising with professionals... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aid with administering medicines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emotional support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic tasks – shopping, cleaning, cooking… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial support </li></ul></ul>Many of these tasks do not stop when the person cared for is in hospital
  7. 7. Specific challenges for mental health carers <ul><li>Specific challenges for young carers </li></ul><ul><li>(invisibility of role, impact on personal </li></ul><ul><li>and emotional development) </li></ul>Stigma of mental illness Unpredictability of conditions – incl. ‘worry when well’ Confidentiality and information sharing issues Gaps in specialist support for carer and “cared for” ( e.g. respite, day support services, transport, volunteering and employment opportunities )
  8. 8. How does this affect these carers? <ul><li>Relationships with person cared for, friends and family can suffer </li></ul><ul><li>Financial impacts – serious implications particularly if the spending of the person cared for is out of control </li></ul><ul><li>Carer’s physical health can deteriorate </li></ul><ul><li>Carer’s mental and emotional health suffers </li></ul>
  9. 9. The external reality – the world is changing <ul><li>The national agenda is moving </li></ul><ul><li>towards: </li></ul><ul><li> personalised care </li></ul><ul><li> shorter stays in hospital </li></ul><ul><li> more emphasis on </li></ul><ul><li> self-care . </li></ul><ul><li>Carers becoming more visible and important. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Additional funding for flexible carers breaks - £150m over 2 </li></ul><ul><li>years to PCTs, plus £4m for pilot schemes </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that short-term respite is available for carers in </li></ul><ul><li>crisis situations in each council area. </li></ul><ul><li>Reform of Carers Benefits - currently poorly targeted towards </li></ul><ul><li>most impoverished carers. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding for the creation of an Expert Carers Programme – </li></ul><ul><li>“ Caring with Confidence” </li></ul>Key actions for carers: Carers Strategy and New Deal for Carers
  11. 11. Mental Health Act 2007 <ul><li>Came into force on 3 rd November 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Some welcome changes - advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>for patients, right of nearest relative to </li></ul><ul><li>request advocacy visits, safeguards </li></ul><ul><li>against children under 16 years old being treated on adult wards </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns on application of Community Treatment Orders ; </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health carers may find themselves ‘stuck in the middle’ </li></ul><ul><li>between underresourced professionals and loved ones </li></ul><ul><li>BUT greater recognition of adult and young carers’ needs for </li></ul><ul><li>information and support now in Code of Practice; emphasis </li></ul><ul><li>on listening to carers’ concerns about CTOs. </li></ul>
  12. 12. What needs to change for mental health carers? <ul><li>All local areas must commission </li></ul><ul><li>carers services which offer </li></ul><ul><li>information, emotional support and </li></ul><ul><li>respite. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Mental health carers are routinely </li></ul><ul><li>identified on the Care Plan, offered a Carers Assessment (includes health, recreation and work) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Professionals minimally provide carers with sufficient information in order to care safely and effectively </li></ul><ul><li>4. New Deal for Carers emergency respite care services provide flexible and mental health-sensitive respite </li></ul>
  13. 13. What could make a difference immediately? <ul><li>We need services and professionals to see carers </li></ul><ul><li>as partners in care , and recognise: </li></ul><ul><li>the extent to which carers contribute </li></ul><ul><li>This means being responsible for providing mental health carers with the necessary information and support so they can care effectively </li></ul><ul><li>that carers are experts in their area of experience </li></ul><ul><li>For better care outcomes, involve carers in training and selection of mental health staff, and commissioning of mental health services </li></ul>
  14. 14. Find out more… <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>