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Carers Trust partnership aims to transform involvement of unpaid carers in mental health system

Carers Trust is aiming to transform carer involvement in the health system and improve treatment outcomes by growing an alliance between unpaid carers, those receiving care, services and mental health professionals. 

The Triangle of Care partnership was set up to ensure unpaid carers are fully engaged in services, given support to carry out their role and have increased involvement in health and social care improvements. Its current members include 42 mental health trusts and more are now being urged to join.  

Sharon Spurling, Carer’s Trust’s Triangle of Care Lead, said:  

“By recognising unpaid carers as key partners in the planning and provision of mental health care, health professionals can transform outcomes for patients and those who support them. The Triangle of Care sets out a pathway to do that by committing to a few key steps. All the feedback we’ve received from those who have adopted the Triangle of Care show it is a sound investment in safety, quality and continuity of care. At Carers Trust we’re excited to grow our Triangle of Care network so even more organisations can see the same amazing results.” 

There are an estimated seven million unpaid carers in the UK, 13% of whom support those with mental health conditions, and they are often the only constant presence in the lives of those they look after. Carers are there when crisis occurs and when that person needs support with day-to-day activities and accessing treatment services. 

Unpaid carers often understand the needs of the person they care for incredibly well and therefore have vital insight into their care. Therefore, by identifying, supporting and involving unpaid carers in planning and treatment, health professionals can help people receive better care on their journey to recovery. 

The Triangle of Care is based on six principles that mental health trusts can use to include and support carers: 

  • Identifying carers and the essential role they play as soon as possible
  • Train staff in ways to engage carers
  • Adopt protocols on things like confidentiality and sharing information
  • Have defined staff who are responsible for carers 
  • Make a carer introduction to the service available
  • Offer a range of carer support services

For professionals, the benefits include gaining unique expertise from carers and building stronger relationships between all parties. The programme can also reduce admissions as carers often recognise the signs that a s person is becoming unwell. By listening to carers, steps can be taken to help reduce the need for those they look after to be admitted. 

Donna Bradford, Head of Carer and Relative Experience, Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust, said:  

“The Triangle of Care transformed the care of our carers enabling them to get identification and support earlier and involving them in the future planning of the trust. Our carers are involved in training, interviewing and governing and our ongoing commitment to the Triangle of Care ensures this continues to develop and evolve going forward ensuring carers are at the heart of our delivery.” 

To sign up for the Triangle of Care, visit the website which contains guidance and resources on the partnership. 


For further information please contact:  

Mark Chandler, mchandler@carers.org and 07712 427808 

Notes to Editor: 

Carers Trust has delivered the Triangle of Care since the original guide was launched in July 2010 by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers (now Carers Trust), unpaid carers and the National Mental Health Development Unit. It was introduced to highlight the need for better identification and involvement of unpaid carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.  

According to a 2023 report by the Royal College of Psychologists, 13% of carers in the UK care for someone with a mental illness.  


About Carers Trust 

Carers Trust is the UK charity working to transform the lives of unpaid carers across the UK.  It partners with its network of local carer organisations to provide funding and support, deliver innovative and evidence-based programmes and raise awareness & influence policy. Carers Trust’s vision is that unpaid carers are heard and valued, with access to support, advice and resources to enable them to live fulfilled lives. 

To find your nearest local carer organisation for advice and support, visit carers.org 


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