As part of our Liverpool Care Matters project we were asked by Liverpool City Council (who commission social care and support services in Liverpool ) if we could assist with their engagement with users of Mental Health Day Opportunities services.
Mental Health Day Opportunities services are currently being provided by five organisations as follows:
- Person Shaped Support (PSS)
- Imagine Independence
- Mary Seacole House
- Liverpool Roots Trust
- Richmond Fellowship
The services are aimed at people in Liverpool who experience mental health difficulties. The intention is to provide some mental-health specific input but also provide social and leisure opportunities.
The services provided by four of the providers are broadly similar. PSS, Imagine Independence, Mary Seacole House and Liverpool Roots Trust provide a programme of courses, groups and activities. These consist of mental health specific content, such as courses on coping with anxiety, alongside more general social and leisure opportunities such as art and sewing classes.
The service provided by Richmond Fellowship, called My Time, is different and is a time bank. This involves people taking part in activities to “bank” time which they can then withdraw. For example, someone may help another member with gardening for an hour and, in turn, they can be helped for an hour by another member to learn to play the guitar. Members offer a variety of skills and are matched with other members
who are in need of those skills.
Based upon the responses of those who completed the surveys, the key findings are as follows:
- People really value the ability to socialise with other people and the support of caring staff.
- People also value having a safe and non-judgemental space and the services give
them an opportunity to get out of the house.
- People feel that the services have enabled them to improve or maintain their mental
- The services also help to build people’s confidence and allows them to develop
- People appear to enjoy general activities such as art and cookery classes. It is possible that these are more popular than mental-health specific activities but this needs further investigation.
- A majority of people do not access any other activities outside of the services. This is due to anxiety, particularly about meeting new people, and also cost.
- People would like to see the services extended to include a greater range of activities, longer opening hours and increased funding.