In order to improve these services it is vitally important that the experiences and views of carers are listened to and acted upon.
We believe we make a difference by working together. The involvement of carers is very much needed:
- To give carers a real say in what services are working well and how they are delivered
- To ensure planners and managers hear about services which are not effective or supportive
- To ensure services respect people's dignity, independence and promote recovery
- To ensure carers get the help and advice they need when they need it
- To influence the development of new and better services.
Our newsletter Having a Voice is available to download below. The most recent issue is Summer 2020 and you can also get a copy here Mental Health Carers' Newsletter Summer 2020.
Who are we?
We have a team of Carers Involvement and Development Workers that are funded by NHS organisations in Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire County Council. There is a team of three Involvement and Development Workers supporting carers of someone who has a mental health condition, who misuses drugs or alcohol or has a dual diagnosis (both a mental illness and substance misuse). The Team consists of:
Sarah Williams covering the west of the county (Dacorum, Hertsmere, St Albans, Three Rivers and Watford);
Nicola Beedell covering North Herts, Stevenage and Welwyn/Hatfield;
Rosemarie Muldoon covering Broxbourne and East Herts.
They are led by the Carers Policy and Engagement Manager Roma Mills.
What do we do?
- Provide you with the training and support you may need to help you represent your views to the health and social care authorities who commission and manage mental health services in Hertfordshire
- Provide you with the opportunity to meet and talk to other carers who have had similar experiences to your own
- Hold a Mental Health Carers' Forum, during the coronavirus pandemic the meetings have been online via Zoom. The Forums enable carers to meet up, share information and concerns. Carers' views are welcomed and you can have the opportunity to influence service developments. Details of our 2020 Forums are available in the poster that can be downloaded below or here Mental Health Carers' Forum 2020 Dates Poster - although these were paused in March 2020 and we will update you as to when they will restart). You can also download the minutes and reports from the Forums below (in the download area at the bottom of the page).
For those carers who are unable to attend regular meetings, we organise a Carers' Involvement Network where you can tell us about your experiences of services by email, telephone conversations, responding to surveys or attending one-off workshops. Call 01992 58 69 69 for more information or email us.
Mental Health News and Events
Hertfordshire’s out of hours mental health crisis service – Nightlight – is provided by Herts Mind Network. It has centres that offer a safe haven for you to use if you want some time out or would like to talk through the issues that you are experiencing with someone who will listen, but not make judgements. You can find out more information about the service at www.hertsmindnetwork.org/nightlight
Hertfordshire Mind Network also provides a helpline for people in Hertfordshire to call if they are feeling distressed or experiencing a mental health crisis. The helpline number is 01923 256391 and is open seven days a week at various hours - mainly in the evenings and overnight. For more information about the helpline visit www.hertsmindnetwork.org/crisis-helpline
Other useful contacts
Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) provides support and care for those with mental ill health or a learning disability. You can find out an update (from September 2020) about their services during COVID-19 and the easing of lockdown restrictions in the download area below.
Rethink Mental Illness provide a range of services including carer support. They are running an online Caring and Coping Course over six sessions starting in October 2020, there is more information in the poster in the download area.
Join us and together we can help improve your local mental health services.