Study exploring family carer involvement in Forensic Mental Health Services in Scotland

Scottish policy and law underline the importance of supporting family carers and using their knowledge and experience to increase the effectiveness of mental health care and treatment.  While there is a growing body of research about carers’ experiences generally, the needs and experience of those who support individuals in forensic (secure) mental health services (forensic carers) have been neglected.  Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) and the Forensic Network commissioned this independent study to examine what they identified as ‘significant gaps and inconsistencies’, focusing in particular on the views and experiences of forensic carers.The study aimed to provide evidence about:
  • Existing support for family carers across forensic mental health services in Scotland
  • Any gaps between what professionals say is provided and carers’ experience
  • The extent to which carers access available support in forensic mental health services
  • What works well and what hinders carers from accessing this support

In addition to gathering information from carers about their experiences and views, the study has gathered information from forensic mental health services about existing support, as well as about access and uptake.

Full report
Summary report
Discussion paper

What happens next?

Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) and the Forensic Network will work with carers and staff in the services to produce guidelines for good practice and a way of helping staff measure their effectiveness in involving carers more in the care and treatment of their relatives.  The report will also be used to carry out further consultation and discussion amongst carers so that we ensure that carers themselves know about and can refer to the findings.