Family Ambassadors provide emotional and practical support to parents/carers and families of young people from Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hampshire and Dorset who are admitted to a Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) inpatient service.
The Family Ambassador scheme for the South East region is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, working with NHS trusts in Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.
What do Family Ambassadors do?
Family Ambassadors are non-clinical professionals with lived experience of CAMHS services, who can work with you and the clinical teams to help you navigate the inpatient journey.
We know that it can be a stressful time for families when children are admitted to hospital. Our Family Ambassadors will support you from the point of admission until shortly after discharge, in a way which is flexible and suits your needs.
As a parent or carer, you have a unique perspective on the care needs of your child or young person. Family Ambassadors will ensure your voice is heard and that you feel empowered to become an equal partner in your child or young person’s care.
How can Family Ambassadors support your family?
- Help to understand the inpatient system and processes and roles of the multidisciplinary team.
- Help to support your communication with professionals.
- Help to understand any ‘jargon’ or unfamiliar clinical terms used.
- Help to explain the purpose of different meetings and help to prepare you for them, including support and information after meetings.
- Help to ensure that you are fully involved in developing a care plan for your child or the young person you care for.
- Help to raise any concerns and to take action to escalate your concerns if necessary.
- Help to explain any legal processes, such as the Mental Health Act.
- Be a source of high-quality information and guidance, for example, eligibility for benefits.
- Be a support and source of information during transition to other services.
- Be a support with communication with social care, local authority, education or onward providers.
- Have knowledge and networks of the local area to support with information and signposting (for example accommodation and travel within the area).
- Help to direct you to parent/carer forums, charities and relevant support groups.
- Be a friendly face and listening ear to address any worries that you may have.