How MHM Make Services Carer-Friendly

The 6-10 June 2019 is Carers Week, an annual awareness campaign to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution made by the 6.5 million people in the UK who are carers looking after a parent, partner, child or friend.

MHM was founded by a group of carers to improve services for their loved ones who were experiencing severe and enduring mental health problems. We understand how vital carers are and what pressures they face, so all of our services strive to deliver the emotional and practical support carers need to carry on caring, whilst also looking after their own health and wellbeing.

From years of experience working alongside carers to support their own and their loved ones’ wellbeing, we know that carers need:

  • Flexible services that accommodate their lifestyle and caring role;
  • A life of their own away from their caring responsibilities, particularly opportunities to maintain social and family networks to protect them from becoming isolated;
  • The chance to continue working, to prevent loss of income and poverty;
  • Young adult carers need support to ensure their education (and therefore future) does not suffer as a result of their caring role;
  • Somebody to listen to their own needs.

We know that everyone’s circumstances are unique, so first and foremost in all of our services we listen to the individual. With each carer we work with, we sit with them to develop a bespoke Carer Support Plan, which builds on their existing skills and abilities and focuses on what is important to them in their life and community. The support plan enables each carer to continue to care for their loved one whilst promoting their own health and wellbeing as well. All our services are flexible, opening outside ‘office hours’ and providing helplines which run 24/7, so there is always someone at the end of the phone to offer guidance and emotional support.

Trying to navigate the maze of benefits and health and social care systems can be extremely difficult for carers. We work alongside them to help with completing Carers Needs Assessments, accessing relevant benefits, and compiling Carers’ Emergency Back-Up Plans, ensuring both the carer and their dependent are supported in an emergency.

We work with young adult carers to support them to achieve fulfil their potential in education or employment and ensure their own future does not suffer as a result of their caring role. We often provide support in colleges and universities, working alongside staff to identify these young adults and catch them before they ‘fall through the cracks’ of the system.

We also promote our services to local employers, educating them to recognise the carers in their workforce and encouraging them to sensitively signpost staff to appropriate local support, as well as exploring the benefits of reasonable adjustments to an individual’s working pattern.

At MHM we know it’s important for us to get involved with local and national conversations about carers, particularly Carers Week, promoting the importance of the role of carers and making sure that nothing stands in the way of us providing support to the selfless people who dedicate their lives to looking after a loved one.

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