14 June 2012

Starring role for carers this Carers’ Week

A new tool to support those who care for someone with a mental health problem will be developed during this year's national Carers' Week (18-24 June).

Carers and staff who work closely with them will be getting together to celebrate the contribution carers make to Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP). A highlight of the event will be a practical workshop to draft a carers' version of the 'recovery star', a nationally recognised tool used in planning mental health care.

The recovery star provides a visual tool and series of 10-step journeys to help measure change, identify needs and prioritise goals as people recover from a mental health problem. It is regularly used by mental health professionals working with service users to produce personalised care plans.

The event on 19 June at Jenner House in Chippenham underlines AWP's commitment that staff will work in partnership with carers and provide individual carers' care plans.

AWP's Carer Engagement Manager, Lu Duhig, said, "The event is an opportunity to recognise the importance of carers and their needs by focusing on something practical.

"The idea of recovery will mean different things to different carers. For example, looking after their own health and well being, so that they can continue to care, or feeling that their contribution to the care of a loved one is valued by workers, may be particularly important for some. Others may need help to understand the problems that their loved one experiences and so be better able to support them.

"What is important is that we support carers on their individual journey. The recovery star is a tried and tested approach that we feel could offer carers a way of focusing on what's important to them. The workshop will just be the starting point and it will be really interesting to see how carers feel the star could be developed."

Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign from 18-24 June. During the week the UK's six million unpaid carers are celebrated and recognised for the contribution they make to those they care for, and to their communities.

For more information about the week go to carersweek.org.

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