The Meriden Family Programme recognises a duty of care to both people living with mental illness and those who support them and is working with organisations to establish training which acknowledges the importance of involving families as true partners in care. While some people may not wish to have their families involved in their care, and others may not wish to have certain information shared with others, for the majority of people living with mental illness, their families and friends provide them with a stable and on-going support network. The appropriate sharing of information ensures that those providing this care are better informed and thus in a better position to aid the persons recovery. Open, collaborative relationships also make it more likely that effective interventions such as family work are offered.
It is acknowledged that many professionals find it challenging to think about how to achieve a balance between respecting the person’s right to confidentiality and meeting the needs of family and friends to have relevant information to enable them to provide the best support. The Meriden Programme aims to ensure that clinicians are better equipped to work with the important and sometimes complex issue of how to best share information in a way that results in positive outcomes for all.
The Meriden Family Programme has subsequently developed a training manual with accompanying materials and a 1-day training event entitled “Sharing Information with Family and Friends” (“Sharing Information with the Circle of Care” in Canada.) both of which have been positively evaluated and highly successful.