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Book Full text available online for free

You care, you count: a carer's guide to getting support

Author:
RETHINK
Publisher:
Rethink
Publication year:
2009
Pagination:
31p.
Place of publication:
London

This document sets out commitments the government has made to addressing immediate and longer-term issues in the matter of people providing care and support for someone with mental illness.

Journal article

Physical health and mental illness: listening to the voice of carers

Authors:
HAPPELL Brenda, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Mental Health, 26(2), 2017, pp.134-141.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare
Place of publication:
London

Background: Shortened life expectancy of people with mental illness is now widely known and the focus of research and policy activity. To date, research has primarily reflected perspectives of health professionals with limited attention to the views and opinions of those most closely affected. The voice of carers is particularly minimal, despite policy stipulating carer participation is required for mental health services. Aim: To present views and opinions of carers regarding physical health of the people they care for. Methods: Qualitative exploratory. Two focus groups and one individual interview were conducted with 13 people identifying as carers of a person with mental illness. Research was conducted in the Australian Capital Territory. Data analysis was based on the thematic framework of Braun and Clarke. Results: Two main themes were interaction between physical and mental health; and, carers’ own physical and mental health. Participants described the impact of mental illness and its treatments on physical health, including their own. Conclusions: Carers are acknowledged as crucial for the delivery of high quality mental health services. Therefore they have an important role to play in addressing the poor physical health of people with mental illness. Hearing their views and opinions is essential. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Caregiver coping with the mentally ill: a qualitative study

Authors:
AZMAN Azlinda, SINGH Paramjit Singh Jamir, SULAIMAN Jamallundin
Journal article citation:
Journal of Mental Health, 26(2), 2017, pp.98-103.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare
Place of publication:
London

Background: Mental illness is a disease that affects millions of people every year. It not only causes stress to the mentally ill patients, but also for the family members who provide them the care. The family caregivers, therefore need some form of coping strategies in dealing with their mentally ill family members. Aims: This qualitative study aims at identifying and analysing the coping strategies adopted by the family caregivers in dealing with their mentally ill family members. Method: A total of 15 family caregivers from the state of Kedah, Malaysia participated in the face-to-face semi structured interview. Results: The study findings identified an array of coping strategies used by the family caregivers, including religious coping, emotional coping, acceptance, becoming engaged in leisure activities, and the use of traditional healing to help them cope with their mentally ill members. Suggestions and conclusions: Study suggests that the family caregivers should engage themselves in social support groups to learn about and obtain the positive coping strategies used by other caregivers who have similar experiences in caring for the mentally ill. Study also suggests that they should get appropriate training from the mental health professionals in order to enhance the caregivers’ coping skills. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Living with mental ill health: a carers perspective

Author:
TAYLOR Chris
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Today, March/April 2015, pp.25-27.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

The author, who is also a counsellor and therapist, provides a personal account of caring for someone with mental health problems and outlines some ways of coping.

Journal article

Mental and physical illness in caregivers: results from an English national survey sample

Authors:
SMITH Lindsay, et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 205(3), 2014, pp.197-203.
Publisher:
Royal College of Psychiatrists

Aims: This study investigates the relationship between weekly time spent caregiving and psychiatric and physical morbidity in a representative sample of the population of England. Method: Primary outcome measures were obtained from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007. Self-report measures of mental and physical health were used, along with total symptom scores for common mental disorder derived from the Clinical Interview Schedule - Revised. Results: In total, 25% (n = 1883) of the sample identified themselves as caregivers. They had poorer mental health and higher psychiatric symptom scores than non-caregivers. There was an observable decline in mental health above 10 h per week. A twofold increase in psychiatric symptom scores in the clinical range was recorded in those providing care for more than 20 h per week. In adjusted analyses, there was no excess of physical disorders in caregivers. Conclusions: Strong evidence was found that caregiving affects the mental health of caregivers. Distress frequently reaches clinical thresholds, particularly in those providing most care. Strategies for maintaining the mental health of caregivers are needed, particularly as demographic changes are set to increase involvement in caregiving roles. (Edited publisher abstract)

Journal article

A family approach to delirium: a review of the literature

Author:
HALLOWAY Shannon
Journal article citation:
Aging and Mental Health, 18(2), 2014, pp.129-139.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis

This literature review had the following objectives: (1) evaluate the current state of research into delirium management (prevention, identification, or treatment of delirium) with family approaches or involvement, (2) identify gaps and areas that require investigation, and (3) determine a future course of research. A comprehensive search of original research was conducted in six major databases using seven keywords in 2012. The literature search yielded a total of 2160 articles. Criteria for eligibility were met by a total of 11 articles. The articles were evaluated in regards to purpose, sample, research design, level of evidence, variables, and results. The literature review revealed that this topic is emergent and requires substantial additional research. The aspects of delirium care that researchers investigated were diverse and included bedside interventions (n = 3), screening strategies (n = 4), family education (n = 2), and care that employed multiple components (n = 2). Delirium outcomes improved significantly in two high-quality studies: one multi-component intervention and one bedside intervention program. Other noteworthy findings of lower quality studies warrant further examination. The review of the articles did not determine if the involvement of families in delirium management improves patient outcomes; however, the review revealed potential for program development and future courses of research.

Book Full text available online for free

Recovery: a carer's perspective

Authors:
MACHIN Karen, REPPER Julie
Publishers:
Centre for Mental Health, NHS Confederation. Mental Health Network
Publication year:
2013
Pagination:
16
Place of publication:
London

This briefing paper examines what recovery means for the families and friends of people with mental health conditions. It suggests ways in which these informal carers can support recovery and looks at how mental health services can give the best possible help to do this. It also provides information about key resources, including the Triangle of Care and a Wellbeing Recovery Plan for families and friends. The briefing paper has been produced for the Implementing Recovery through Organisational Change Programme, a joint initiative from the Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Family systems and mental health issues: a resilience approach

Authors:
COHEN Lynne, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community, 25(1), March 2011, pp.109-125.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

This study aimed to understand resilience in people who live with or support a family member with a mental illness. Participants from the Community Link and Network Western Australia (CLAN WA), including 1 male and 14 females, took part in semi-structured interviews. Findings revealed eight recurring themes which indicated the challenges the carers faced and provided indications of the positive and negative personal, family and social factors that impacted on their lives. The themes were: getting to the CLAN WA; accessing help including CLAN WA; impact of living with a person who has a mental illness or problematic behaviour; family and cultural issues; communication within the family; coping strategies and evidence of resilience; social support; and the notion of sacrifice. While there is still considerable work to do in supporting people who live with or support a family member, the authors concluded that individuals living with mental health problems can do more than just survive the process.

Journal article

Patterns of exclusion of carers for people with mental health problems - the perspectives of professionals

Authors:
GRAY Benjamin, et al
Journal article citation:
Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community, 24(4), December 2010, pp.475-492.
Publisher:
Taylor and Francis
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, USA

The UK government 10 year strategy for carers (Carers at the Heart of 21st Century Families and Communities, 2008) outlines commitment to support for carers, to enable them to be included within service provision and to have a 'life of their own' including income, employment and well-being, helping to prevent social exclusion. In this study, 65 strategic staff in mental health care delivery from a range of settings and sectors were interviewed and invited to comment on the social exclusion of carers. The findings highlight four main types of exclusion: personal exclusions (including stigma and keeping mental health problems a secret), social exclusions (including isolation, commitments and restrictions and young carers), service exclusions (including needs not being addressed and difficulties with access), and financial exclusions (including paying for care). The author discusses the patterns of exclusion and considers the ways in which professionals and services can promote the social inclusion of carers for people with mental health problems in future.

Journal article

Time to care

Authors:
NELSON Sarah, MACDONALD Anne
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Today, February 2010, pp.30-31.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

Cairdeas is operated by Penumbra Respite Care, a major Scottish mental health charity, and offers residential respite care as planned breaks for people with a wide range of mental ill health. It gives them short supported breaks away from their home environment to help them over difficult times and to give carers a break. The service is like a guest house, but has skilled staff working on a 24-hour basis and provides social outings like going to the cinema. Yet, despite having only 8 beds and being able to offer 400 respite weeks a year for the whole of Scotland, Cairdeas is often under-used by local authorities, despite an apparent desperate need among carers of adults with mental health problems. The project director, Be Morris, argues that this is because respite is still seen as an add-on extra, that mental health carers are often hidden, and that these carers are missing out on assessments of their need. Statistics have shown that 40% of carers in Scotland have not had an overnight break in the last 2 years.

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