30 November 2018

Helping our carers to look after themselves

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership is reminding carers to ensure they stay healthy and connected and look after their own wellbeing needs by accessing the help and support they are entitled to.

The message comes on Carer's Rights Day (Friday 30 November) with the Trust highlighting the help and support it offers to carers who look after someone with a mental health condition.

AWP's Director of Nursing, Julie Kerry, said: "At AWP we recognise that carers play a huge role in supporting their loved ones. We value the experience and expertise that they have and work with them in order to provide the best possible care. We also make sure carers have access to an assessment of their own needs and involve them in the planning and development of our services.

"Carers often carry out their role around the clock and many don't get the opportunity to take a break, so we'd like to use Carer's Rights Day to remind them to find out about benefits, financial support and other help they might be able to access."

The Care Act 2014 defines a carer as 'someone who helps another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life. This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally, or through a voluntary organisation.'

Staff and carers from across AWP have worked together to produce the AWP Family, Friends and Carers Charter, which demonstrates the Trust's commitment to working with carers and is a great starting point for informing carers about what they can expect when their relative or friend is receiving support from the Trust.

Included in the 11 points that make up the charter are pledges on the value the Trust places on the experience and knowledge that carers have in order to treat them as equal partners. The Trust is committed to involving and supporting carers, giving access to the right information at the right time and assessing a carers' own needs.

Jess, who is a carer, said: "Many people become carers automatically as part of their role as a parent, partner or in looking after their parents or loved ones. Initially I felt that asking for help and support was a sign of failure, but I really wished I'd done it sooner. Accessing help is about taking steps to look after your own wellbeing, as well as the person you care for. If you don't look after yourself, how can you care and support someone else?

"I would advise anyone who provides a caring role to find out what support and help is available so that they can continue to provide the best possible care to their loved ones."

Hear from a local carer, Jess:

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To find out more about the AWP Family, Friends and Carers Charter visit /advice-support/service-users/family-friends-carers-charter/

A list of support groups and services for carers can be found on the AWP website /advice-support/service-users/support-groups/


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