Source: City of Salford
On 22 July 2021, Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett visited Living Well Salford, a community mental health service, delivered in partnership between Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) Salford Mind, and START, a charitable creative and wellbeing organisation.
The Mayor met with the service managers, staff, people who use the service and peer support workers with lived experience to find out more about the service, and their innovative approach to mental health support for Salford’s communities.
Living Well Salford is one of only four national pilot sites, as part of the Living Well UK programme, which is creating new ways of supporting the mental health of people in local communities.
The Salford-based community mental health service offers holistic support for people struggling with their mental health. There is no eligibility criteria; instead they listen to people and connect them with the support they need within their local community. What support looks like depends on the needs and goals of each individual person – whether it be finance, housing, employment, mental illness or loneliness.
Peer support is a key aspect of the service. Living Well Salford’s Peer Support Workers are experts by experience, and are able to connect with people from a place of understanding as they know what it is like to walk in their shoes.
Sarah Buckley was first introduced to Living Well Salford as a service user around five years ago. She is now a Peer Support Worker at Living Well Salford. She said:
“You wouldn’t think that your dream job could ever exist, but mine does. I love every aspect of my peer mentoring role – it is all about using my lived experience to help other people. It’s so empowering to be involved in the decisions of how the service is going to work.
“This service is person-centred – it’s about asking people what they want, what they like, and what keeps them well, and sorting this for them. I spend time with people on a range of activities to help them move forward, from gardening, to art and sometimes we’ll just have a coffee and share stories.
“The feedback we’ve been getting has been really positive. Getting people involved in the social side of things keeps them well, and it’s so exciting to be a part of it.”
Heather was referred to Living Well Salford after struggling with her mental health. She said:
“I had been under the mental health services in Scotland for years. When I moved to Salford, my mental health got worse and I needed support.
“When I first came to Living Well, I spoke to my Recovery Worker, and told her I was arty. She said ‘I have the perfect thing for you!’ I now take part in art classes, and I’m able to use their full art studio, which has given me a real sense of purpose.
“You don’t feel like you’re in an NHS building, it feels like you’re coming to do something you love and enjoy. There’ so much more I can get involved in too – there is woodwork, music, crotchet, which I’d really like to start.
“I’ve only been here for six weeks, but the difference it’s made to my mood already is amazing. This is the best thing that’s happened to me.”
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:
“I’m very pleased that Salford is one of four places taking part in this national pilot and it was a pleasure to visit and see it in person.
“The stories from people who have struggled with their mental health and who are now doing well was incredibly powerful and inspiring.
“Making sure we look after the mental health of people in our city remains a major priority, especially given the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable people across the city. It was fantastic to meet the team and see the work that is taking place.
“I’d like to thank all involved for this important work – services coming together to provide support when people are at a point in their lives when they need it most.”
Tammy Young, Operational Manager at Living Well Salford, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Living Well Salford is a new and innovative approach that has been co-designed with service users, voluntary organisations, local authority, health, and mental health service providers.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team and the way we have worked together with our local communities to create this service and moving forward, we will continue to do so as well as forging some new partnerships along the way. There’s a real spirit of community and togetherness, where all stakeholders are valued equally and their views shape the way we do things.
“All service users are supported with a level of care that is suitable to their needs and their own personal choices; this really is a fantastic example of ‘partnership’, in the truest sense of the word.
To keep up to date with everything going on at Living Well Salford, follow them on Twitter at @LWinSalford.
If you are struggling with your mental health, GMMH’s free helpline is here to help you. You can call at any time, day or night, on 0800 953 0285.
- Date published
- Monday 26 July 2021