Rethink Mental Illness Carers Service

Our service is for anyone who is supporting or has concerns about a person’s mental or emotional well-being. Often the person you’re supporting is a family member such as a partner, wife, husband, son, daughter, or friend. Whether or not you define yourself as a carer we can offer different levels of support to meet each individual situation. This may be anything from a phone conversation to attending an educational course or joining a support group. We aim to be flexible to meet your needs and we know that circumstances can change from one day to the next.
Family and friends play a massive role in helping people recover from severe mental illness. We believe you should be acknowledged, valued and supported – we can help you find out about your rights, encourage you to take care of your own mental health and connect with others in a similar position.
Rethink Mental Illness works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life. We provide hope and empowerment through effective services and support to all those who need us, and campaign for change through greater awareness and understanding.

Individual support
Especially when you are going through a difficult period, it can be helpful to talk through your situation confidentially one to one. This may lead to referral for a ‘carers assessment of needs’, or an individual support plan.

You can also arrange to meet a Rethink carers worker and an experienced worker from mental health services at the same time, giving you the chance to seek solutions to particular issues.
Interpreters can be arranged if necessary where English is not the carer’s first language.
We also offer information and support over the phone or via email and have a good knowledge of local services and how to access them.

Caring and Coping Educational Programme
An educational programme for carers of people with mental illness providing information, practical skills in problem solving and communication, peer support and self help.

Support Groups
The service offers support groups across the city co-facilitated by mental health services (Avon and Wiltshire Parthnership) and Rethink Mental Illness. An opportunity to meet and chat with other people in a similar situation and to get support for yourself – all in a confidential environment.
• Southmead Hospital (Horfield)
• Petherton Resource Centre (Brislington)

  • Fromeside and Wickham (Secure and specialist services)


There are also peer-led mutual support groups for siblings and for relatives of people with borderline personality disorder.


A newsletter with details of our services and events of interest to carers is published regularly. You can sign up to receive these by email or by post, or become a volunteer to help compile it.

Carers Breaks
We are Trusted Assessors for Bristol City Council, and can support you to access to individual personal payments or ‘Carers breaks’. This is a budget held by the Integrated Carers team at Bristol City council, which carers can utilise to maintain their health and wellbeing while caring for significant others. Access through our service is quicker than through Care Direct.

Family Work for Psychosis
Help is given to the whole family to improve ability and confidence in tackling problems effectively. Research shows that work with the service user and his or her family can reduce the risk of becoming unwell again and improve quality of life for those concerned.

Hospital Liaison
There is a specific worker dedicated to liaison with psychiatric hospitals. Meetings with carers can be arranged at Callington Rd or Southmead hospital. The liaison worker is also available to meet with nurses and healthcare assistants who work with family members of patients.
Individual support, staff training and induction days for carers are offered at Fromeside, Wickham and specialised and secure services at Blackberry Hill.

Service User support
Guidance as to how to get appropriate support for the person you care about.

Rethink Advice and Information Service
Our national service provides information and advice factsheets on a wide range of issues affecting people with mental illness, their family, friends and carers. It gives practical advice & info about issues such as:
• Different types of therapy and medication
• Benefit, debt, money issues
• Police, courts and the Mental Health Act
Call 0300 5000 927 Mon to Fri between 9.30 – 4.30pm or you can email

Contact details

Service details

  • Alternative names: Rethink, rethink mental illness, national schizophrenia fellowship
  • Areas served: service available to those living in bristol or who support someone who lives in Bristol
  • Is there a cost for these services? no
  • How can people access this service? Self Referral, referral from a mental health professional or GP
Updated: more than six months ago.
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