Increase support for carers and families
We know that lots of people who look after a loved one with a mental illness don’t always see themselves as carers. But if you are helping to support someone then you should be entitled to an assessment and extra support from your local authority. Here, Lauren shares her experience of getting the right care package in place for her daughter.
In 2014 my daughter had been in hospital for many months, held under a Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. She was desperate to leave hospital, and pleaded with me ‘get me out of here, Mum!’. The consultant would not discharge her back to her flat as she wasn’t well enough, or to live at home with me, and Social Services were dragging their feet with respect to paying for an appropriate care package. It was a case of ‘bed-blocking’, and very much to my daughter’s cost, since she was well enough to be discharged and, trapped in hospital, her recovery had stalled.
In desperation, I contacted Rethink Mental Illness. The local group coordinator, with advice from a barrister, helped us to appeal my daughter’s detention, and ensure a place was found where she could continue her rehabilitation.
The Local Authority has made the annual renewal of the funding of her Care Package a traumatic and difficult process, often flagrantly ignoring the framework laid down in the 2014 Care Act. They have tried more than once to stop funding the placement.
Without Rethink Mental Illness’ help I would have found myself isolated, out-numbered and out-gunned at meetings, and my daughter’s care package would have been led by budget constraints rather than her needs.
Our peer support advocate has accompanied me to meetings, worked with senior managers in Social Services, and given information and support which has made all the difference in keeping my daughter’s Care Package in place. Without this level of care I believe she would have ended up back in hospital. So this work is important, and gives vital help to the families of very vulnerable service-users.
In April 2015 the Care Act came into force and tells local authorities how people with mental illness and their carers should have their needs assessed and supported. It also has rules about when a local authority can charge people for providing social care services and it is an important step to protecting carers.