"A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or addiction, cannot cope without their support" - Carers Trust

According to Carers UK there are 6.5 million carers supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill across the UK. Almost 100,000 of those live in Surrey, with 14,000 providing care for more than 50 hours a week.

At Surrey and Borders, we are committed to supporting you while you are looking after someone who uses our services. We have a team of Carers Practice Advisors whose role it is to help and support you. If they can’t help you directly, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who has the expertise you need. For example, many organisations can give practical, day-to-day financial advice or lend a supportive ear if you’re feeling under pressure.

They can also help ensure that you receive a Carer's Need Assessment, so that you receive the support you need as well as your loved one while they receive our services.

If you are new to caring, visit Carers UK, a charity set up to support people who look after family and friends.

Triangle of Care kite mark

In April 2015 our Trust was recognised for our commitment to working collaboratively with carers and we were awarded our first gold star. In November 2016, we were one of just ten mental health trusts to receive a second gold star - the maximum possible under the Triangle of Care programme.

For more information about the Triangle of Care, please visit the Carers Trust website

Who is a Carer?

Carers are a diverse group and every caring situation is unique. Carers are people who care for a family member, a friend or another person in need of assistance or support with daily living. They include those caring for the frail aged, people living with long-term medical conditions, people with a mental illness, people with a disability and those receiving palliative care.

Carers can be adults caring for other adults, parents caring for children who are ill or have a disability or young carers under 18 years caring for, or involved in the care of, a parent, sibling, relative or friend. The closeness of the caring relationship means care can include emotional support for the person.

Some carers do not call themselves carers but see themselves as wife or husband, mother or father, partner, grandparent, child, friend or neighbour. There can be multiple carers who care as part of a family or community network. At times, because of the nature of the illness, a carer may not be recognised as a carer by the person he or she is providing care to.

The need for care can happen in various ways. It can increase gradually as a result of a progressive medical condition, or growing older and becoming frail. It can also happen suddenly, for instance, as a result of an accident or stroke.

Parent carers are most likely to be caring the longest. The responsibilities may be even greater in the situation of a carer who is a sole parent who has more than one person to care for, or if the carer has a disability or is frail aged.

Carers can live in the same house as the person they care for or live close by and visit regularly. Some live a distance away and visit weekly or monthly but nonetheless feel responsibility towards the person they care for. Caring can affect everyone in the family.

Carers give support with life matters and assist with the health and wellbeing of the person in their care. This can include tasks of daily living and social, emotional, spiritual and physical support. The individual caring situation can have many complexities and can include managing challenging behaviour.

Carers may be in full-time or part-time employment. Carers give their time to care because of commitment to and love for the person in need of care. In doing so, the caring role can impact on the carer's social needs and physical and mental health. Each carer differs in the intensity of the caring role, and this reflects in the stresses and demands of the carer in his or her tasks and responsibilities. Recognition of and support for the individual needs of carers will improve their health and wellbeing.

Anyone in our community could at any time be called on to care for someone close to them for either a short or long period of time. While the work done by paid support workers or care workers assists carers in their role, these workers have industrial entitlements and are not defined as ‘carers’. Similarly, the role of volunteers in our community is crucial to carers and the people they care for. However, the term 'carer' in the context of this web site does not include volunteers while they are working under the auspices of a voluntary organisation.

Carers Action Group (CAG)

We have several groups for carers and people who use services who meet regularly and discuss how we can best support you. Joining FoCUS (our Forum of Carers and people who Use Services) is an ideal way to get involved in the person that you supports care with us. We also run a Carers Action Group which meets regularly to ensure that the Trust implements the Triangle of Care.

The Triangle of Care refers to the essential three-way relationship between professionals, people who use our services, and their carers/families. It was developed by the Carers Trust (in conjunction with carers and NHS staff) to improve carer engagement in mental health services and contains examples of best practice for organisations to follow.

It also contains extensive resources designed to help staff who work with carers and involve them in the person they supports care more effectively.

Our Carers Action Group meet bi-monthly to help ensure that these areas of best practice are used within the Trust. The group comprises carer representatives and senior staff from each of our service areas, colleagues from Surrey County Council and Hampshire County Council, as well as representatives from Action for Carers. Read about the Care Act and how we are responding in Surrey.

CAG Meetings

We hold several Carers Action Group meetings throughout the year. To find out more about what we do, please download our Terms of Reference or download the meeting's papers.

To attend a meeting or for more information, please email carers@sabp.nhs.uk or send a text message to 07786 202 545.

Carers Action Group meetings 2017

All took place at Trust HQ, Leatherhead KT22 7AD, 1pm-3pm

Date Papers
10 Jan

Download Papers

9 May To follow
11 July

To follow

12 Sept

To follow

14 Nov

To follow

Carers Practice Advisors

Receiving a diagnosis of mental ill-health can be as stressful for family and carers as for the person themselves and our Carers Practice Advisors work to support those family members and carers in their caring role.

Using the Triangle of Care they support staff and teams with their training and involvement to ensure that the carer's voice is heard. They do this by:

  • Informing, training and working with colleagues to identify and support carers
  • Signposting and providing information about specialist carer support agencies, local and national
  • Ensuring carer’s needs assessments are offered and undertake them in complex cases
  • Supporting the good health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and their carers
  • Attending meetings with carers, acting as advocate if required
  • Working with other organisations to develop carers’ resources.

Our Carers Practice Advisors are employed by Surrey County Council but are fully integrated into our adult community teams. They also work across our Older People's and Specialist services.

Carers Practice Advisors in Surrey

Our Carers Practice Advisors are based in our Community Mental Health Recovery Services (CMHRS). To find your nearest, visit our CMHRS pages or please contact:

Julie Cook
Surrey County Council
Tel: 07969 268 652
Email: julie.cook@surreycc.gov.uk

Carer support in NE Hampshire

For further information on carer support in Hampshire please contact our Community Mental Health Recovery Service (CMHRS) in Aldershot:

Aldershot Centre for Health, Aldershot
Tel: 01252 33 55 66

Carers' Needs Assessment

You should be able to contribute to the discussion about the needs of the person you look after. Anybody who cares for somebody is able to ask for a Carers Needs Assessment to discuss the help you need. This can happen even if the person cared for refuses help. 

A Carer's Needs Assessment is your opportunity to talk about your own needs and things that could make caring easier for you. Carers Needs Assessments can look at the support available from a range of organisations. The assessments should include a face-to-face discussion between carer and the person carrying out the assessment. A carer can ask for the assessment to be carried out in private, away from the person being cared for.

As part of the assessment, we would look at:

  • What help the person you care for needs
  • The help you give at the moment
  • The services we could provide

and consider for example:

  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Are you able to get out and about?
  • Do you get any time for yourself?
  • Are your other relationships affected?
  • Are you concerned you may have to give up work/education/training?
  • Do you need information on benefits/the law/mental illness?

Once the assessment is complete either a Carer’s Plan or an Action Plan is developed with you. This could include; details of services that give you a break, information about mental illness and how to learn more, advice on benefits and the contact for local carers’ groups that support carers and enjoys a good social programme.

Please ask us about having a Carers Needs Assessment.

We are working with Surrey and Hampshire County Councils to ensure that the Care Act 2014 requirements are addressed.

Carers Respect Panel

In 2017 we held a series of carer respect programme meetings with carers and staff to improve how we can better support you as carers and provide more inclusive care.

Out of these meeting we agreed to set up the Carers Respect Panel, a group of experts - including carer practice advisors, carers leads and service managers - who will provide advice and guidance to you and answer any questions you may have about  the person you care for. The panel will also be available to support Trust staff to improve their working relationship with carers, and help them to better understand the challenges faced by carers.

The panel will be running throughout 2018 at Trust HQ in Leatherhead.

Dates for the next four meetings are:

  • Tuesday 30 January – 10am–11:30am Room G8
  • Tuesday 13 March – 10am-11:30am Room F9
  • Tuesday 22 May – 11am–12:30pm Room G8
  • Tuesday 24 July – 11am–12:30pm Room G8

Get involved

If you are interested in joining one of these sessions, contact our carers team at carers@sabp.nhs.uk to find out more.

Carers Charter

Our Carers Charter is our pledge to supporting carers and sets out our promise: to support carers, value their role, involve carers, and give carers a voice.

Download our Carers Charter



Useful Links & Resources

NHS England carers toolkit

NHS England has published their carers toolkit. The toolkit was developed by NHS England and its partners and is designed to help health and social care organisations work together in identifying, assessing and supporting the wellbeing of carers and their families. See the toolkit on the NHS England website.


Most of these links take you outside the Surrey and Borders website. They are for information only and we cannot be held responsible for their content.

Our services are provided in partnership with Surrey County Council and Hampshire County Council. Please refer to their websites for local carer information.

You can also contact Action for Carers Surrey if you need help or support:

Tel: 03030 4 01234
Email: carersupport@actionforcarers.org.uk

Supporting Carers

General information for you & those you care for

Books & leaflets on mental illness and caring for someone with mental illness

You or the person you are caring for may find comfort in some of these titles;

Resources if you care for someone who lives a long way away

Advice on caring for relatives at a distance from the  Council On The Ageing (Australia)

Also available from bookshops are;

  • Your guide to schizophrenia by Dr Adrienne Reveley
  • Schizophrenia: A Mother’s Story by Georgina Wakefield
  • The Quiet Room; A Journey out of Torment and Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett
  • The Centre Cannot Hold by Elyn R Saks
  • The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele and Claire Berman
  • Monkey Taming by Judith Fathallah (about eating disorders)
  • A Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring by Hugh Marriott
  • Freaks, Geeks and Asperger’s Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence by Tony Attwood and Luke Jackson
  • All Cats Have Asperger's Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  • Life Behind Glass: A Personal Account of Autism Spectrum Disorder by Patricia Howlin and Wendy Lawson
  • The Boy with the Topknot by Sathnam Sanghera