Sussex mental health trust awarded next level of accreditation for their work with family and friend carers

Local mental health services have been recognised by the Carers Trust ‘Triangle of Care’ programme for their continued efforts and commitment to improving the way they work with family and friend carers, and have now been awarded the next level of accreditation status.

According to figures released by Carers UK, it is currently estimated that 1 in 8 adults have a caring responsibility, which equates to 6.5 million people, and every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides specialist mental health services to all ages in Sussex and children and young people in Hampshire, has been awarded stage two status for the Triangle of Care programme, which is delivered by the Carers Trust and asks NHS mental health trusts and the people who work there to make a commitment to change the way they communicate with and include carers in decisions about the person they are supporting.

Separated in to three stages, which each take two years to complete, the Triangle of Care programme focuses on three specific areas of mental health services. Stage one focuses on inpatient services and crisis services, stage two focuses on specialist community services, and stage three looks at community physical health services.

Sam Allen, Chief Executive for Sussex Partnership, said: "The Triangle of Care is incredibly important to us at the Trust, and the last four years have been a real journey, embedding the Triangle of Care and its principals into all of our services.

"The therapeutic alliance between our staff, family and friend carers and people who use our services is essential; working together side by side to deliver the best outcomes, experience and support for patients, whilst ensuring that everyone in that triangle is recognised and valued.

"We know that the work will never be finished - it is ongoing and requires commitment and leadership, but I am really proud of the work that has been undertaken in the organisation so far and that we have received stage two accreditation."

Donna Bradford, Triangle of Care representative for Carers Trust, said: "We are really impressed with the work that we have seen at Sussex Partnership and how far they have come with the Triangle of Care programme. During the recent accreditation assessment we were particularly pleased to see the Executive support of the programme, the adaptations that were made through the Covid-19 pandemic, the employment of dedicated carer workers, effective cross-partnership working, and the support that is being offered to staff who identify as a carer.

"Well done Sussex Partnership on your accreditation and we look forward to seeing your future developments."

Triangle of Care is made up of six key standards, and focuses on keeping carers included, informed and supported when they are caring for an individual with mental health difficulties.

Jacqueline Clarke-Mapp, Carer Leader and professional lead for the Triangle of Care Programme at Sussex Partnership, said: "We are really delighted to have received the recognition for this work. We could not have achieved it without the ongoing commitment of colleagues across our services, patients and their family and friend carers and our strategic partners.

"Everyone involved has worked really hard to keep patients and their family and friend carers central to our services, and I am looking forward to building on this and continuing on our Triangle of Care journey".

To find out more about the Triangle of Care programme, go to www.carers.org.