To mark World Mental Health Day today, Carers Trust is publishing a new guide, The Triangle of Care for Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services – A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. 

The Guide, which provides advice and recommendations for mental health professionals working with children and young people, is funded by NHS England as part of their Commitment to Carers programme. It builds on the success of Carers Trust’s Triangle of Care model which encourages service users, carers and health professionals to work together in an equal partnership to improve service user treatment and wellbeing.

The Guide seeks to extend these principles into a new resource to be used specifically by professionals working in Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYP MHS) – formerly Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). 

New guidance requested by mental health professionals

The Guide was requested by CYP MHS professionals working in the 36 NHS mental health trusts already implementing the Triangle of Care approach. They wanted guidance on how they can identify and work more effectively with young service users and the carers in their families.

The Guide and its recommendations have therefore been informed by feedback provided by parent carers, sibling carers, children and young people using CYP MHS. This includes:

  • Carers need to be able to communicate more regularly with staff.
  • Professionals should adopt a more ‘whole family approach’.
  • There is a lack of recognition among CYP MHS staff for the role siblings play in caring for their brothers and sisters. Young carers often feel their views and insights are not listened to. 

The Guide recommends that CYP MHS professionals should seek to identify a young service user’s carer(s), including sibling carers, as soon as possible. It is often forgotten how much support brothers and sisters give to a sibling with poor mental health. And siblings often feel that they are one of the few people their brother or sister can talk to, giving them a wealth of unique insights into the mental health of the sibling they care for. 

Welcoming publication of the Guide, Carers Trust’s Director of Services in England, Kathryn Hill, said:
“The Triangle of Care model has already made a real difference in helping health service professionals understand how consultation with a service user’s carer can make a material difference to improving treatment. So, we are thrilled today to be extending the Triangle of Care’s core principles with this new guidance. The new Guide will play a vital role in better connecting mental health service professionals with the people who understand best what is happening in the lives of their young service users – the service user’s carers.” 

Although published today, the Guide was launched at a special event yesterday (9 October) at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in London. The launch included a tribute to the immense contribution of Alan Worthington to the development of the Triangle of Care model. Worthington co-wrote the Triangle of Care and has been at the forefront of championing carer engagement in patient treatment.

Please find the full list of Triangle of Care resources on our website.