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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

New website launched to aid recovery of carers

Published: 24/10/2014

A new website designed to boost the health and wellbeing of those who care for people with severe mental health problems has been launched by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

This innovative website has been specifically designed to advise, support and aid the recovery of carers, families and friends.

Meriden Family Programme logo

The website has been developed by the Trust’s Meriden Family Programme which trains staff to work with carers. Its aim is to ensure families receive effective help and support locally, nationally and internationally, and to raise awareness of the needs of families within mental health services in Birmingham and Solihull. 

Dr Gráinne Fadden, Director of The Meriden Family Programme, said: “Caring for someone who has a severe mental health problem can be stressful, challenging and exhausting and it may be a long-term commitment. This places a strain on partners, parents and siblings as well as the wider circle of family and friends. All too often carers ignore or neglect their own needs and forget that they too need time to recover emotionally and physically.   

“The concept of a website focusing exclusively on the recovery of carers is new and our intention is that it will encourage families and friends to consider their own needs and wellbeing so that they are better able to cope and contribute to supporting the person who is unwell.”

The website was developed by members of the Meriden team. Website editor Michele Gladden, also a carer, played a central role in its development and she and Peter Woodhams, Carer Consultant on the Meriden team knew from first-hand experience what information would be helpful to other carers.

Carer Peter Woodhams said: “What I like about the website is that there is a wealth of helpful information that is available 24/7 in your own home and even on your phone.”

Another carer said: “It helped me to realise that one of the first things I need to do in order to support my son is to look after myself.”

The site - which is accessible via www.meridenfamilyprogramme.com is a hub of information and advice including resources for carers, guidance on carers’ rights and benefits, family interventions, looking after yourself and confidentiality, as well as details of local and national organisations that may be helpful.

The site, which was developed with funding from Caring Minds, the Trust’s own charity, also has sections targeting young carers and siblings and gives families and friends the opportunity to hear about the experiences of other carers.

The site will also be of interest to professionals who work with carers or who are involved in research and teaching.