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The Triangle of Care for Young Carers and Young Adult Carers

A Guide for Mental Health Professionals

In July 2010, the Triangle of Care, Carers Included: A Guide to Best Practice in Acute Mental Health Care was launched. It has since been updated in 20131.

The Triangle of Care approach was initially developed by carers seeking to improve carer engagement in acute inpatient services. It has been successful in effecting positive change for carers by encouraging joined up working between the carer, service user and professionals. It has now been extended to cover all services within a mental health service whether they be an inpatient, community or specialist service. Carers frequently report that their involvement in care is not adequately recognised and their expert knowledge of the ‘well person’ is not taken into account.

You can find out more about the Triangle of Care and the latest guidance at https:// carers/triangle-care-mental-health.

Since the inception of the Triangle of Care it has been recognised that there is a key gap within its application – supporting young and young adult carers. It has long been acknowledged that young and young adult carers are under recognised and under identified within mental health services, and as a result are often under supported. There are several identifiable reasons as to why this occurs including: lack of their physical presence within adult mental health services, services users reticence in stating they have a child or young person involved in their care, mental health professionals’ concerns about how to support young and young adult carers and a lack of time and resources available, to name but a few.

In order to gain a better understanding of the needs of young and young adult carers caring for someone with a mental health problem, we carried out consultations with young and young adult carers, young carer workers, mental health professionals and service users across England. It became apparent that there were some common themes – namely that young and young adult carers are under recognised and under supported throughout their caring journey. It is the culmination of the views of all these groups that provided us with the wealth of lived experience that was needed to inform this resource.

As a result of these consultations, Carers Trust has developed the Triangle of Care for Young and Young Adult Carers as a supplementary guide to sit alongside the
Triangle of Care. We have highlighted where considered adjustments are required to the approach of the Triangle of Care and its six standards in order to meet the specific needs of young and young adult carers. We have also included reasoning as to why and some solutions to the challenges.