Mental health staff, carer services and carers from across Scotland are attending a launch event today at the Insight Institute at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow for Carers Trust Scotland’s Triangle of Care 3rd Edition guide and Triangle of Care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services toolkit.

Resources to highlight the expertise of unpaid carers and a need for better involvement of them in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health, and to ensure mental health carers are receiving the support that they need.

The Triangle of Care resources are supported by the Scottish Government and aim to provide frontline staff with the tools to better support carers as part of the care team and to work in partnership with organisations supporting unpaid carers for a family member or friend who has mental ill-health.

There are an estimated 1.5 million unpaid mental health carers across the UK and it can be difficult and complex to provide care for someone experiencing mental ill-health. Mental health carers are not always recognised as providing a caring role by health and social care professionals and many remain unidentified and unsupported. However, many carers have expert knowledge and understanding of how their cared-for person is affected by their mental ill-health. It is therefore vital to involve carers in the planning and treatment of their cared for person to support recovery and sustain wellbeing.

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 has established rights for carers of all ages through duties on health boards and local authorities. The Act is designed to listen to carers; improve consistency of support; and prevent problems – helping sustain caring relationships and protect carers’ health and wellbeing. The Triangle of Care helps services achieve this in a number of ways. It encourages conversations about the care and treatment decisions, this requires timely identification of carers. It means that carers receive relevant information and their views are taken into account. It also means listening to and respecting their knowledge in relation to the person being cared for.

Today’s event is organised by Carers Trust Scotland. The 80 attendees will hear testimonies from mental health services currently implementing Triangle of Care and the impact this has had on their service. Triangle of Care is an investment in carers at very little financial cost to services but has the potential to have large impact to carers, the cared-for person and staff in mental health services.

Karen Martin, Mental Health Development Co-ordinator at Carers Trust Scotland said:

“We are delighted today to be launching the 3rd edition of Triangle of Care guide and our new Triangle of Care for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services toolkit to highlight the need for better involvement of carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.

Investing in carer health and wellbeing isn’t just nice to have in a strategy or piece of legislation; it makes economic sense. It is estimated that the value of care provided by all unpaid carers in Scotland is £10billion per year.

Carers in all circumstances have the right to be get the support they are entitled to and need, so that they can also have a life of their own alongside caring. Under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 local authorities have a duty to offer Adult Carer Support Plans to all identified adult carers, which should contain a range of information in relation to the caring role and the carers own personal outcomes and needs for support.

All NHS Boards across Scotland should embed Triangle of Care to ensure that mental health carers are better supported and feel valued.”

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For further information please contact Paul Traynor, Policy and External Affairs Manager on 0300 772 7701 or ptraynor@carers.org

Notes for Editors

About Carers Trust Scotland

Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems.

In Scotland, we are the largest provider of comprehensive carers support services, reaching around 40,000 adult carers and more than 3,500 young carers from all groups and communities, through a unique network of independent carers’ centres and young carers services (Network Partners).

We work with these Network Partners to improve support, services and recognition for carers.

More information about the Triangle of Care resources