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Family Meetings – Information Leaflet

When a person needs the help of mental health services this will also have an impact on the lives of those who care about them. This may include a partner, relatives, close friends and important others. Family meetings offer a place where those who are concerned can talk together with a member of staff in a relaxed manner.

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A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability. This may include helping with personal care, medication, cooking, shopping, housework and giving emotional support.

  • What is the reason for meeting as a family?

    When a person is experiencing mental health problems and needs the help of mental health services this will also have an impact on the lives of those who care about them. This may include a partner, relatives, close friends and important others. Family meetings offer a place where those who are concerned about the situation can talk together with a member of staff in a relaxed manner. The family meetings will concentrate on people’s strengths and on finding new ways of approaching difficulties and moving forward.

  • How can family meetings help?

    Family meetings allow for families to:
    • Provide support to family members who are experiencing stress
    • Draw upon family members’ knowledge and experience
    • Share ideas and information
    • Think together about new ways of understanding and dealing with problems and symptoms
    • Discuss plans and hopes for the future

    Staff who meet with you recognise that the distress that people feel in their personal and family lives is often related to social injustices. Therefore, we aim to work in a way that recognises the influence of gender, age, race, culture, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and disability.

  • Who will meet with families?

    The family meetings will be hosted by a member of staff who has experience and training in working with families.

  • What happens during the family meetings?

    The meetings provide an opportunity to talk together with staff about things that are causing concern. Hopefully, the meeting will be a place where you can talk in a way that feels relaxed and safe, and which helps the family to think about things differently and find new ways of tackling difficulties.

    Everyone’s situation is unique so there is no set plan for the discussion. Family meetings generally last an hour. There might be a single meeting, or there might be more. This will depend on the needs and preferences of the people involved.

  • Who can come to the meetings?

    It is often helpful for the whole family or all of those who are concerned about the situation to come together. At the same time, it is important that people don’t feel pressurised to take part, and the meetings can still be extremely helpful when not everyone is present.

  • Where do they take place?

    The family meetings will take place on the ward.

  • Will everything I say be confidential?

    In general, what you say in the meeting is private. Any exceptions will be discussed with you. In very exceptional circumstances, where there are serious concerns that someone may be at risk, we are obliged to pass on this information to the appropriate professionals.

    Please ask if you have any concerns at all about confidentiality.

  • How can I find out more about the family meetings?

    Please speak to a member of staff on the ward who will arrange for you to be given answers to your questions.

  • Further information

    Further information about the family meetings is available on the Association for Family Therapy website, along with a copy of the Professional Code of Ethics that staff adhere to.
    Website: www.aft.org.uk

  • References

    Association for Family Therapy - www.aft.org.uk

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website www.cntw.nhs.uk (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email complaints@cntw.nhs.uk Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    - the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    www.cntw.nhs.uk/poy
    - complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Other formats, references and review

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2018 Copyright, Cumbria. Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/411/1018 October 2018 V5
    www.cntw.nhs.uk Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2021