LIVING WELL: THE CASE FOR CHANGE
Living Well Approach
Case for change
Why we need new systems of support that help people live well
Too many people across the UK are struggling with their mental health but are not getting the help they need when and where they need it. They are trying desperately to access mental health services that have responded to rising demand by restricting entry to only those with the most complex mental illness. The result is frustration, despair and worsening ill health as they wait and hope for months and even years for something or someone to help.
Mental health services are often highly medicalised and not designed to deal more holistically with the social and economic factors that affect someone’s mental health. Through the Living Well programme, we have come across many stories of people experiencing poverty, worrying about money, caring for others whilst balancing their own mental health needs, living with the aftermath of adverse childhood experiences, feeling socially isolated, being victims of crime and not having their basic needs met. Struggles with ‘mental health’ are often struggles to work through adversity and its effects.
How hard it is to feel mentally healthy in an age when the protective factors for good mental health - such as strong relationships, economic security and good housing - seem so threadbare.
Despite this, there is an over reliance on clinical interventions in secondary care and a lack of holistic help and support for mental health in the community that could prevent many problems getting worse. Holistic help and support for mental health looks at the whole person, and combines medical and social perspectives.
Living Well systems tackle these issues by:
Making it easy to access holistic, person-centred help where and when it is needed
Bridging the gap, and changing the relationship between primary and secondary care
Supporting clinicians from the statutory sector to work collaboratively with other practitioners in voluntary and community sector organisations
Bringing together insights and knowledge from social and medical approaches to mental health
putting people's strengths and lived experience at the centre
Supporting people to recover and stay well as part of their community.
Living Well systems have the potential to:
Help more people achieve better mental health
Significantly more people living with good mental health in their homes, workplaces and communities, and able to deal with the challenges of daily life.
Help people access effective, holistic help and support for mental health when and where they need it
A wide range of people and organisations in the voluntary sector and primary care providing holistic support for good mental health within communities when and where it is needed.
Reduce demand on the NHS
Reduced demand for secondary care specialists, freeing up investment for primary and community care that works.