A group of carers in Calderdale have launched a special information pack to help other people who are in a caring role.
The pack was officially launched by carers at the Halifax Fire Station. The carers all care for someone who uses mental health services provided by South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust in Calderdale.
The pack includes information on mental health problems, planning care, carers’ rights and dealing with difficult behaviour. It also boasts a comprehensive contact section as well as a guide to the jargon and abbreviations that are often used in health and social care settings.
The pack was adapted from information developed by a carer in Bath, Lu Duhig, who said, "I have experienced much of the bewilderment, anxiety, frustration and anger that you may be suffering at the moment. When mental illness first touched my family we felt alone and frightened. Remember that you are not alone; there are people who can help you too, at this difficult time. Other carers can be a great support; they understand what you are going through."
The carers who developed the pack for people in Calderdale are all members of a group called ‘Carers Mental Health Link Calderdale’. The group aims to ensure carers are valued and involved in local NHS services.
The group have also recently set up a ‘Carers Dialogue Group’, where carers can meet face-to-face with managers of local mental health services and get answers to their questions. Broader issues can be brought up and discussed – recent discussion topics have included carers’ rights and how A&E departments handle people in crisis. Carers also have the opportunity to influence services, and guest speakers are invited to ensure that carers are aware of available support.
Jonny Glenn, PALS (patient advice and liaison) worker for South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust explained, "The group gives carers an opportunity to tell people working in NHS services how they are affected by what happens – not as one carer ‘shouting in the wind’, but with the confirmation that other carers share their experience, knowledge and, sometimes, frustration."
The pack was developed as part of a series of projects that aim to give carers the support and information they need. The pack will be available on the carers section of the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust’s website. It will also be available on NHS electronic networks so that NHS staff can print out relevant information to give to carers.
Jonny continued, "The advantage of an electronic version of the information pack is that details can be quickly updated when they change. Printed copies often become outdated almost as soon as the ink dries, this way we can make sure it remains a useful resource for people who need it."