The term psycho-education is generally applied to any intervention that educates those affected by mental health difficulties and their families with a view to improving longer term outcomes. In the context of Recovery for Carers, this section refers to interventions that might help carers to become more knowledgeable and better able to cope. Such interventions are also likely to be of assistance to carers in providing information that is likely to be helpful to them in their role as partners in care.
It is worth noting that carer-focused structured education and support programmes. are recommended for carers in section 1.1.5 of the Guideline on Psychosis and Schizophrenia as published by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2014
There is a wide range of range of topics that might be included in this type of intervention which might include some of these:
Psycho-education interventions will generally be delivered in one of the following formats:
Many localities in the UK will have carer education programmes available for carers to attend through the mental health service, the local carers centre or a voluntary sector organisation. The courses may be open to all carers or they may be specific to a particular service, diagnosis, age group or geographical area. Some may be during the day whilst others may be in an evening.
To find out more as to what is available in your own area, contact the Carer Lead in the appropriate mental health trust, the relevant mental health team or your local carers centre. Carer Support Workers in your area should also have this information.
It should also be noted that some structured family intervention models, such as Behavioural Family Therapy, will include carer-focused information, education and support content within the intervention, which will be particularly helpful to all the family.
Meriden runs a 3-day course called Caring for Carers 3 or 4 times a year which enables the professionals and carers who undertake the course to work together in rolling out a comprehensive information and support programme to carers in their own areas/teams. Click here to see a typical flyer for this course together with an example of the programme that can be rolled out as a result of attendance on this course.
Delegates receive a comprehensive manual to help them in developing a programme to roll out to carers.
Caring for Yourself’ – which has been created by Meriden in conjunction with Rethink Mental Illness. This resource can be found as an online resource in our Caring for Yourself page. Caring for Yourself is a self-help workbook in 8 parts designed as an information and educational resource to help carers. It will also be useful for professionals who work with carers so that they can refer carers to it where appropriate. It can also be used alongside a carer education programme that is being run on a group session basis.
Eufami is a Belgium based international organisation that has developed programmes supporting people affected by mental illness, and the organisations representing them. They have developed The Prospect Family and Friends Training Programme which addresses the needs of carers in their own right, to enable them to gain confidence, improve their coping skills, regain control and improve their quality of life. It is normally delivered through group sessions, so it may be worth checking with them direct if this course is available in your country/area.
A number of papers have been published about the evidence base for psycho-education and references for these can be found on our Meriden research sources document