Mental health illness could be tackled with a contemporary approach

Mental health illness could be tackled with a contemporary approach

Four locations across the UK are set to establish creative approaches to improving mental health illness, thanks to £3.4m (~€3.8m) in National Lottery funding.

Living Well UK is a three-year programme that is set to develop innovative approaches to support mental health illness across the UK, inspired by a model developed in Lambeth, South London.

Living Well making a significant impact

The ‘Living Well’ model was first launched in 2010 as an approach to improve mental health care. The programme has transformed the way the voluntary and public sectors work together so that the right support is available to people when it is needed.

Since then Living Well has made a significant impact on people’s lives, assisting in providing support to individuals within the community earlier and involving them in the planning of the support they need for the future. Working in such a unified way has not only saved almost £2.5m, but more importantly has reduced the number of individuals going into residential care by 43%. This therefore shows that offering support that focuses on recovery in the community rather than residential or inpatient provision is proving to be a more effective solution.

New local partnerships in Edinburgh, Luton, Salford, and Tameside & Glossop are set to develop their own version of the Lambeth Living Well approach.

Having been awarded with £3.4m in National Lottery funding, these cities are to receive support over three years. The funding available is hoped to become internationally recognised and to be viewed as an example of an innovative way to help people achieve good mental health in community and primary care settings.

The work they do will have the potential to be taken up across the NHS in the UK, transforming the support currently offered by GPs, community and mental health teams.

Innovative approaches are the way forward

Matthew Horne, chief executive of Innovation Unit, said: “This is an amazing opportunity to apply the learning from an innovation that has been shown to have an impact.

“It has transformed access to mental health support, people’s experience and their wellbeing. It has also reduced the demand for high cost NHS services.”

The approach essentially assists those experiencing mental health difficulties to recover, stay well, make their own choices and participate on an equal footing in everyday life. The programme does this through a collaboration between commissioners, providers, clinicians, service users and community representatives.

Joe Ferns, UK funding director at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “The Living Well model places people with personal experience of mental ill health at the heart of its work, ensuring their voice is heard in order to shape support for others.

“This National Lottery funding will enable this approach to grow across the UK so that local partnerships are able to work together to deliver real, effective change for the people in their communities.”

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