If you are caring for someone with a severe mental illness it can be very stressful. Not only are you concerned because someone you love is ill but you are also worried that the way you respond to their illness could make things worse not better.
At Family Tree we aim to give you the knowledge and support you need to be able to cope better with the situations you find yourself in.
We do this in a variety of ways. We run workshops and short courses helping people to understand what is going on when someone experiences a period of severe mental illness. The latest two were “Treading on Eggshells” which explored the best ways to respond to people exhibiting delusional behaviour and “Where’s my oxygen mask?” which looked at the importance of keeping yourself safe (emotionally and mentally as well as physically) before helping someone else, just as you are told to do on an aircraft.
We also offer information sessions, recent topics have included an up-date on benefits.
Our newsletter gives you topical information as well as keeping you informed about our activities.
The “Guide to Mental Health Services for Wirral Carers” originally produced in 2009 and recently up-dated is designed to help you find your way through the maze of services available. A small folded leaflet gives more specific information about support groups and leisure activities.
We recognise that sometimes you need a break and so we arrange theatre trips and days out.
Other roles include taking carers’ concerns and needs to meetings where decisions can be taken about services and providing some training for staff working in those services about the role of the carer. We help you to get involved in commenting on existing services and developing new ones both within our own organisation and in the statutory services through consultations and surveys.
A few years ago we extended our remit to include support for people with mental health problems themselves within their families as we have undertaken (with the support of Wirral PCT and the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) a pilot project of intensive Family Intervention. Family Intervention is widely recognised as an effective therapy for psychotic illnesses and ideally involves working with the person with the mental health problem, their carers and other family members where appropriate over a lengthy period of time.
Another project is Imago which works with carers to produce photographic images.
If you would like to know more about our work or would like to be put on our mailing list please contact us using the details on our contact page.