Carers handbook for over-18 mental health services

A guide to help family, friends and carers through their journey

Bound copy of the carers handbookWho is this handbook for?

This handbook is for anyone who cares for or supports someone receiving care and treatment from our adult and older adult mental health services.

This may include our Adult Mental Health Teams (AMHTs), Inpatient Wards, Early Intervention Services, Complex Needs or Psychological Therapies Services.

It has been designed to give you an overview of what to expect from the Trust, and to provide you with the types of information and support that is available to you.

Get your copy of the handbook

From the co-authors

Di Hilson, Trust Carers Lead, says:

“I feel immensely proud of what we have all achieved, as carers we know how challenging it can be to navigate our way through our healthcare systems.

“Sam, Heide, Andy and I hope that this handbook will be a helpful starting point to a carer’s journey with Oxford Health NHS mental health services.

“We hope it will provide carers with the information and guidance they may need when accessing our services, along with that important reminder that they are important too and must look after themselves. With this in mind support for carers is a big part of this handbook too.”

Andy, a carer, says:

“As a carer I became involved with the creation of the Carers Handbook, as it can be so hard to have your voice heard in a big organisation, so to be able to shape a positive change for future carers was very important to me.”

Sam, another carer, says:

“I felt it was very important for me to get involved as my own personal experience was a very scary, lonely one… with a complete overload of confusion, frustration and despair not only for myself but my loved one too! Becoming isolated at such a time of crisis should never be the case.

“I feel the lack of knowledge about how the system is set up was my biggest hindrance, so hopefully by giving my time and insight to this living notebook, along with two other amazing carers, it will provide you with some of the guidance to missing keys to your recovery paths.

“I would like to include how grateful I truly am to Di Hilson, who showed me nothing but compassion and guidance throughout this extremely difficult time.

“To those of you going through this painful process, please remember you are never alone, and you’re stronger than you could ever have imagined. Stay focused and above all please be kind to yourselves.”

Carer, Heide, says:

“Coming into the mental health system as a carer, the lack of information along with expectations of me was as overwhelming as it was isolating. I felt lost.

“A handbook like this would have made it so much easier to navigate this hugely challenging and unfamiliar situation. I feel privileged to have been able to be involved in the discussions and work that lead to the creation of this important document.

“I wanted to help other carers have as much information as possible, from the onset, to make the often heroic journey a little smoother. I am hopeful that the seemingly simple gift of information at hand and in one place can and will make a difference.

“As carers we must remember to also look after ourselves, so we can continue to do the best job for our loved ones. We cannot give from an empty bucket, so please do take good care of yourselves, reach out to each other and to the help that’s out there.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to Di Hilson for making this important handbook project possible, and for her tireless support, encouragement and understanding that she so freely offers.”

Page last reviewed: 12 March, 2024