Involving carers in shaping services

As part of the Thrive collaborative VOCAL is delivering a carer engagement project. Thrive is a new approach to the delivery of community mental health services in Edinburgh. VOCAL’s carer engagement project began in December 2020 and will run for a minimum of five years. It works to involve carers in mental health services and improve the way services engage with carers.  

The project does this in two main ways: 

  • Involving carers 

VOCAL works with carers to hear their views about how mental health services engage with them and find ways of engaging them to improve their own caring situation and to improve mental health services more generally.  

In the first year of the project, seventy carers were consulted about their experiences of mental health services. It was clear from the research that many respondents felt carer engagement could be significantly improved. The research was launched on 11 February 2022 to an audience of carers who took part in the research. The full research report can be found here and a summary version here 

  • Working with providers 

VOCAL’s carer engagement project also works to improve the way services engage with carers. We want to make sure mental health providers know how to identify and refer carers for support in their own right as well as to enable them to take part in decisions about the treatment and care of the person they support.  

The project will consider how services can develop their support for carers at various levels – whole system, team and individual practitioner levels. It will develop materials such as checklists, guidance and sample letters/emails that services can use to further embed carer identification and support within their work.  

Are you a carer of someone with a mental health condition living in Edinburgh? 

We want to hear from you! There are many ways you could become involved in project, either on a one-off basis or over a longer period. You can tell us your thoughts about how mental health services interact with you or even be trained to consult with carers to capture their views. You might want to help out in group settings e.g. welcoming other carers, or help develop written materials. We are open to your ideas and will find ways to make sure your input is manageable for you, to fit alongside your life activities and caring role.  

If you would like to get involved or find out more about the project, please email Fiona Barrett, Carer Engagement Officer or call 0808 196 6666.