The purpose of the Family and Carer Mental Health Program is to improve the wellbeing of families and carers of people with mental health conditions, and the people they support.
Families and carers play a significant role in the support and recovery of people with mental health conditions. The program acknowledges the critical role families and carers play in promoting and sustaining positive mental health and recovery, together with consumers, practitioners and relevant professionals.
Families and carers have diverse backgrounds and circumstances and they have varied needs in relation to supporting people with mental health conditions. The program identifies and addresses these needs through a range of information, support and services.
Services and support for families and carers are structured and delivered in New South Wales through a partnership approach that includes:
The Carer Recognition Act 2010 and the NSW Carers Charter aims to increase recognition and awareness of carers and acknowledges the valuable contribution they make to society.
Chapter 4 of the Mental Health Act 2007 acknowledges that families and carers and the people they support have the right to be included in planning and decisions regarding all aspects of care and treatment.
Standard 2 of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards includes that families and carers and the people they support have the right to contribute to the improvement of mental health services.
Standard 3 and Standard 7 of the National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010 also promotes consumer and carer participation in all aspects of care and treatment and the design and delivery of services.
In line with the above provisions, the Family and Carer Mental Health Program supports the inclusion of families and carers as partners in developing care and treatment plans, and in the planning, delivery and evaluation of services.
Providing support and identified services to families and carers helps to address their own health and wellbeing needs, and benefit the people that they care for.
The program aims to improve the wellbeing and health outcomes of families and carers and the people they support by ensuring that:
The NSW Family and Carer Mental Health Program is a statewide program funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, and delivered in partnership between 15 local health districts (LHD), the Justice & Forensic Mental Health Network (JH&FMHN) and five specialist community managed organisations (CMOs):
The program provides comprehensive support for families and carers through the public mental health system and the community managed service sector, and links with existing local programs to provide a balanced and effective system of support across the state. JH&FMHN has a Memorandum of Understanding that looks at similar partnerships with the CMO partners to minimise the health consequences of the patient and their families or carers.
Key stakeholders include:
Family inclusive mental health services are facilitated and provided by the LHDs and JH&FMHN. This is achieved through expert advice and consultation, and by employing specialist staff to embed best practice culture. This enables contemporary approaches and work practices to be integrated into workforce training and professional development.
Education, training, individual support and advocacy services are provided by the LHDs and CMOs, and where appropriate, the JH&FMHN. Families and carers are actively included and encouraged to participate in the design and delivery of these services.
Program members work in partnership with families and carers to improve awareness of and access to a diversity of services relevant to their needs.