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Sandwell carers complete ground-breaking course

A dozen people from Sandwell who care for someone with mental health needs have completed the first Caring for Carers course to be rolled out in the borough.

Designed and delivered by the Carers Mental Health Team at the Trust and funded by Sandwell Primary Care Trust, the free course ran over seven half-day sessions in June and July.

Topics covered included problem solving, achieving goals, dealing with a crisis, recovery and hope and how to seek support from other agencies as well as coping strategies and tips for looking after themselves. Guest speakers included a consultant psychiatrist, and an information governance manager.

Gurdip Sangha from the carers team, said: "This initiative came about after three of us; Lovita Rani, Delvin King and myself from the team, along with two experienced carers; Patrick Compton and Sue Noel, attended a national training course delivered by Meriden, on how to support carers of those with mental health problems.

"We packed a lot of information into the sessions and there was emphasis on the carers involvement, carers input, role play, discussion and interactive sessions. Topics covered included problem solving, dealing with a crisis, recovery and hope, the practical skills to help carers develop a range of coping strategies and the skills and resources to plan, organise and deliver courses themselves if the carers wish to take part as a facilitator in the future.

"Two of the facilitators are themselves carers and they were able to give first-hand accounts of the difficulties – and the positives – that their role involves."

He added that the 12 delegates received certificates at the end of the course from Trust chairman Bob Piper.

"Feedback from all the delegates was excellent; they praised the information given to them throughout the course, the coping skills and strategies they learned and also the hard work and effort from the facilitators," added Gurdip.

The course is the first of its kind in the borough and will be rolled out in the future to other carers in Sandwell who are receiving, or have received, a service/ assessment from the Carers Mental Health Team.

The course will be free of charge, as are many other psycho-educational groups and forums run by the Carers Team.

For further information contact the Carers Mental Health Team on 0121 612 6000.