Reducing Social Isolation

There is an array of support available designed to diagnose and treat mental health patients through professional, clinical and peer-support interventions.

But the delicate nature of mental health can sometimes mean that these services are heavily focused on patient safety and risk management; which can sometimes foster dependency on services. Of course; such high level support is necessary to ensure the safe recovery and support of patients. But people with mental health problems and learning disabilities often have low confidence and are socially isolated; and heavy interventions can't always best support them to become more confident and independent. 

Certitude, a charity which offers a range of services for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities across London boroughs, recognised that there is a wealth of unused potential within communities. They figured that patients already see enough of mental health services and clinicians, and wanted to develop an initiative that focused on building people’s confidence, reducing social isolation and getting out into the community.

Working with the Innovation Unit and with sponsorship from the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative; Certitude’s aims were to design an approach that would make communities more accessible, and could modernise and transform the day services for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

We supported them to better understand their service users by training them to deliver mini ethnographies; (in depth qualitative research into people’s lives). Our experts helped them to deliver co-design workshops and prototyping sessions so that they could create something that fully reflected the demand of its users. By training them in co-design methods and tools, we hoped to build their organisational capabilities as innovators; and pave the way for future projects of this kind.

The final product, is an online community movement which allows users to get recommendations of courses and activities that they can do based on their interests. It trains volunteer supporters to help people get involved with opportunities that they like the look of, such as football, painting or learning a language, and meet people with similar interests to theirs.

It also has a function which allows people to set personal goals and track their moods and progress. People can also create new groups if one catering for their interests doesn’t already exist.

The activities and courses branch across 6 main areas:

  • Sports and exercise
  • faith and spirituality
  • arts and culture
  • out and about
  • community and helping out
  • learning and education.

The aim of the club is to build a supportive community movement which helps people with low confidence to get more involved in the things they love doing.

Currently, Connect & Do is only being trialled in Lambeth- but Certitude hope to expand it in future projects.