Within the mental health arena, Shelagh Musgrave cares for, and advocates for, her daughter who has a history of complex mental health issues. Shelagh is passionate about improving carer engagement. Her own experiences have led her to believe that it is essential for professionals to consider the impact of the mental ill health of a loved one on the primary carer and the wider family network, and to actively seek their input and value their knowledge in order to create supportive working partnerships that will better support the service user.
Shelagh works in the U.K. with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), currently on a voluntary basis, as an advocate for carers. She is Carer Co-chair on the Recovery Programme Committee and Carer Experience Lead for the newly formed project team responsible for the Famiies & Carers Pathway Project. This is a 3-year project to design and implement this new pathway, which will train mental health professionals to work proactively with carers and families from the outset. During May 2017, she is attending Agents of Change, an intensive 3-day training programme delivered by Health Education England. This leadership programme is designed to develop presentation and speaking skills for those willing to share their stories and messages of change, in order to influence the NHS.
Organisational change is challenging, but Shelagh is excited to be involved and feels strongly that through lived experience, she can help to influence the decision making as BSMHFT designs and rolls out the new Families & Carers Pathway Project. She hopes, as a consequence, that the future for carers and families in BSMHFT is one in which they will feel recognised and respected as expert care partners; where they are encouraged to consider the impact caring has on their own health & wellbeing and where they are supported in identifying what will best help them to achieve balance between staying well and healthy themselves whilst at the same time being able to care for their loved one.