Working together with families and carers: Chief Psychiatrist’s guideline

This guideline provides specialist advice about involving family and carers in the treatment and care of individual consumers. Individual consumers include children and young people, adults and ageing consumers.

Families and carers often feel they are not acknowledged, and care relationships are not consistently recognised in Victoria's mental health services. Families and carers also report they do not always have access to information, support and skills to maintain their caring role or to support their own wellbeing. This guideline has been developed to address these concerns and provide clarity to clinicians and non-clinical staff in Victoria's mental health services on how to recognise, respect and respond to families and carers as partners in recovery and care. It includes guidance in relation to confidentiality and information sharing.

While the focus of the guidelines is on service delivery, the importance of family and carer participation in service design, development, delivery, evaluation and organisational governance is also recognised and encouraged.

Victoria's Mental Health Act 2014 includes specific provisions relating to carers. This guideline offers assistance to clinicians to understand and meet those obligations under the Act. This guideline has been developed with input from consumers, carers and clinicians across the developmental life course. The principles of identifying, including and supporting families and carers are particularly relevant to clinicians working with children and adolescents, as well as those working with adults and ageing consumers.

To see the guidelines, click HERE