No Health without Mental Health

Note: The following blogpost is from a guest blogger, Ruth Hannan, Policy and Development Manager (Mental Health) at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers

Many carers waited on the government’s new mental health strategy “No Health without Mental Health” with baited Mental Health Strategybreath to see how significantly carers’ needs would be included. So it was with a little cheer (I was on a train at the time) that I saw that the Triangle of Care had been placed at the centre of the government’s commitment to supporting carers of people with mental ill health.

The Triangle of Care, as a joint publication with the National Mental Health Development Unit, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers establishes best practice guidelines for engaging with and supporting carers in an acute care setting, however, there is no reason why these principles can’t be rolled out across mental health service provision field whether it is statutory, third sector or private. David Behan (Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships) in a webchat we recently hosted emphasised the importance of the Triangle of care in securing on-going improvements to local services.

The new mental health strategy reflects the government’s wider radical changes to NHS service provision, clearly including the community focused “Big Society” ideas and more importantly the move to GP Consortia commissioning.  Payment by Results, GP Consortia commissioning and the personalisation agenda present some of the most radical changes in mental health service provision for a number of years and it is as yet unclear how well these will work for people with mental health problems or their carers.

Focus on the Triangle of Care, whole family working and those with more complex needs are clear positives for carers. However, the significant economic cuts currently being implemented may prove counter-productive to these principles. In addition, carers’ issues are not central to the strategy. The main reference to carers is primarily linking to the refreshed carers strategy, rather than considering the particular needs of carers of people with mental health problems or any new or innovative ways forward.

Many Carers’ Centres are already working on developing Triangle of Care services either individually or in partnership with their local mental health trusts. Government’s support for The Triangle of Care will add weight to existing work and support centres who have been trying to engage with local providers. We will seek continued Government support to embed the Triangle of Care in mental health.

The emphasis on reduced government support and increased local responsibility and funding is a concern for many Carers’ Centres, as cuts to statutory services are already affecting service provision. Further cuts may mean already oversubscribed services will need additional support to manage the more complex needs of mental health carers.

There is a concern that GP commissioning may overlook those with the most complex which could affect services available to those caring for someone with the most acute need. We will work to make sure that carers’ needs are included in all mental health decision making at local, regional and national levels.

Further Information:

David Behan joined for a Mental Health Strategy webchat – find the chat transcript here


April 13, 2011 - Posted by | Carers Strategy, Health, Mental Health, Social Care | , , , ,


  1. I am sorry to say that neither of the main carer charities have done anything to improve the lives of carers whatsoever.

    Your dependence on monies from the government purse hinder your group from really standing up for carers as you are always affraid of upsetting the present government, until you are totally independent from government then you are just useless to carers.

    In all the years the PRTC has been campaigning for carers what have they achieved? Carers allowance is still a pittance, the PRTC and Carers UK when asked still say that carers allowance is just a part of what needs changing, that may be a fact but carers allowance is one of the most important topics for carers.

    What has the PRTC and Carers UK done to fight the government over the new assessment processes benefit claimants have to go through? Nothing, your groups silence on these matters is disgusting and very shocking.

    Your failure as an organisation was made clear to me and members of my family when we enquired about getting some help, the charges for overnight care are exorbitant, the majority of people could never afford such charges, I

    Comment by newsextra1962 | April 13, 2011 | Reply

  2. Through our network of Carers’ Centres and our online services, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers supports over 424,000 carers throughout the UK. These carers come to us because they feel that we do help them in their lives and can receive emotional support, counselling, access to breaks, training in things like first aid and providing care, practical advice and information, assistance with applying for welfare benefits and indeed receive grants from us. There is so much more that we are striving to do and more carers we are trying to reach, but the feedback we get from carers is that we do make a difference to their lives.

    We do campaign at a national level to increase Government support for carers. Like you we do not think that Government is doing all that can do for carers, but our campaigning helped get Government to commit an additional £400m for carers through the NHS for 2011-15, and with Carers UK successfully persuaded the Government to keep Carer’s Allowance out of the proposed Universal Credit benefit, which would have meant it would have become means tested.

    Over many years Carers UK have successfully persuaded Parliament and Government to pass legislation giving carers increased legal rights, and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers have recently, along with Carers UK, been influencing the Law Commission to increase rights for carers to get support. It is actually only in the last couple of years that The Princess Royal Trust for Carers has received any Government funding, and is still only a small proportion of our income. Our accounts, which are published, show that the vast majority of our income is gained from charitable fundraising and donations received.

    We remain determined to provide more support for carers all over the UK, understanding that there are carers we are not reaching, and will continue to press Government to do more to support carers.

    Comment by ruthhannan | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. I have been a Carer for 30years. I have represented Carers for nearly 15years.
    There have been massive improvements to Caring for Carers. The Princess Royal Trust and Carers UK have taken Carers issues to Governments. Carers Emergency Card Schemes, Respite Care, Carer Awareness Education and Training to name but a few.

    The appointment of Carer Workers in the different NHS organisations and Local Authority Social Care Services was the biggest step forward.
    CARER SERVICES – JOINT SELF ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK FOR LOCAL AREAS ON CARER STRATEGY 2010/2011 is one of the biggest opportunities to bring NHS organisationsand government to account.

    When I first became a carer there was nothing to help and support me. MPs, Doctors & Professionals in the health service were ignorant and had no interest and there was no advocacy.

    But I agree the financial link is the weakest link together with Mental Health Services.
    The gap between rhetoric and reality are massive.

    Comment by Daphne Sanderson | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  4. The soup kitchens may have increased in number , and run by do gooders with the best intentions but …. nothing has been done to tackle the underlying problems which lead to soup kitchens in the first place or , to the every increasing numbers needing said soup kitchens.

    Perhaps more resources should be given to the fundamental problem … the continuing steamrollering of carers by the Status Quo …. and the ultimate detachment of the Charities behind the steam roller ?

    Sticking plaster no longer is enough , a fundamental change in concepts leading to a fairer society is needed … and the Charities will continue to fail the vast majority if they continue to ignore the fundamentals , and take the soft option of being in league with the steam roller as opposed to leading the fight to reverse it’s course.

    Comment by Paul | April 16, 2011 | Reply

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