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Special event to celebrate carers

Carers Week - 12 to 18 June 2017

​A special event to celebrate the work of family carers while offering them valuable advice to safeguard their own health and wellbeing will take place at Beccles Library on Thursday (15 June). 

The day-long event has been organised by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), Feedback and Suffolk Libraries and takes place during National Carers’ Week, which begins today (12 June) and runs until Sunday (18 June).

The event is open to anyone who is supporting a family member or friend with a mental health difficulty and aims to help them to look after their own health.

Throughout the day there will be inspirational talks from other carers, while mental health professionals will discuss subjects such as anxiety and depression, managing a crisis, emotional wellbeing and relationship roles.

A variety of stalls will be available, and will provide information about carer assessments and how to access them, support groups and where carers can go for extra help and advice.
Catherine Phillips, NSFT’s Carers Lead for Waveney, has helped organise the event. She said: “Carers do an awful lot that often goes unnoticed. They give vast amounts of their time supporting, motivating, encouraging and empowering the person they are caring for. It is very often a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week role and can be challenging and stressful at times.

“We have arranged this special event to give carers help, support and practical advice to help them look after their own health, which often takes second place to their caring role.

“We want the day to be informal and welcoming while giving people the chance to get together, chat and share their own experiences. We hope lots of people will come along to find out more.”

The event takes place in the Glass Room at the library between 10am and 4pm.

Any who would like further information should contact Catherine Phillips on 07766 317972 or, or Kevin Vaughan, from Feedback, on 07747 777243 or by emailing


Case study: Catherine Phillips "It's very rewarding - and very humbling"

A Carers Lead who makes sure people in the Waveney area who care for someone with a mental health problem receive the right support has spoken of the enjoyment she gets from her role.

Catherine Phillips joined Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (NSFT) Waveney Community Mental Health Team in September 2015 and works with carers where the cared for person is aged over 18. The team works hand in hand with social care staff from Suffolk County Council to support people with mental health needs in Suffolk.

Catherine is responsible for carrying out assessments with people who care for adults who receive mental health services. She also supports community teams to embed the Triangle of Care, which looks in detail at the steps taken to include carers in decision making and their loved one’s care, across the Trust.

In addition, Catherine offers carers somewhere safe, confidential and non-judgmental where they can express their feelings, seek guidance and ask for advice on where to go for further support.

“I find the role very rewarding and very humbling at the same time,” said Catherine, who has experience of being both cared for and a carer. “It really does make you reflect.

“We offer carers somewhere safe and confidential to come and express how they are feeling about their responsibilities. We’ll arrange our meeting at a place convenient for them and will often just sit and talk. Later on I’ll write up the assessment from the notes of our conversation and will send a copy to the carer for their approval and reflection.”

With the introduction of the Care Act 2014, carers are entitled to yearly carers’ assessments   which looks at the impact of their role has on areas such as work, money, housing, health, wellbeing and relationships and identifies areas where they may need more help or support.

This can take place at any time of year, and when their needs change. In addition to ‘formal’ carer assessments, Catherine offers appointments as and when they are needed to help carers feel that they are not alone.

“Caring for a family member or friend can be very draining and that is why we are here – we offer a place where people can come and say that they are struggling and not feel guilty,” added Catherine. 

“As well as listening to carers, we can provide information about the particular condition their loved one is experiencing. We also signpost them to other agencies which can provide advice and support as well as training, social activities, carers groups and access to services in their local communities which can give carers some respite and prevent them becoming socially isolated.

“Carers supporting people in our secondary care mental health services have access to our Recovery College and we deliver a dedicated course called “Triangle of Care in Action” for carers and those they support.

“The feedback we have received so far has been really positive. Often when the assessment is completed they will tell us we have helped to make things easier for them.

“They also really value being able to talk to someone who understands.”

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