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Mental ill health

In the UK one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year, and in England a sixth of the population are experiencing mental ill health.

Shared Lives supports people with mental ill health to live significantly better lives, with stronger emotional wellbeing and greater connection to their local community.

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Shared Lives for mental health

With Shared Lives’ way of offering consistent, stable, relationships, it’s proven to be a holistic, humane and reliable way of enabling many more people to enjoy connected and peaceful lives. Our latest report tells us that in 2017-18 Shared Lives in England supported 950 people with mental ill health, 200 more than last year after a targeted project to develop the service for these needs.

People with mental ill health say that as part of a Shared Lives family their lives become more stable, they rebuild and make new relationships and pursue personal interests in the community.

Restoring relationships through Shared Lives schemes gives us back some of the care and nurturing that we’ve lost as a society – and it’s much better value for money. Currently, £1.2bn is spent on supporting people with mental ill health – 7% of what is spent supporting all adults with social care needs. Supporting someone with mental health needs costs about £800 per week in traditional care homes or services. In Shared Lives, it costs around £400 per week – so more people could enjoy the invaluable support of Shared Lives carers.

Read Meg’s powerful story – ‘We need to give more people the chance of happiness, like Shared Lives gave me.

“Nobody else I know has actually been through this, it’s very difficult for anyone to understand. It’s so good that I’ve got someone else to confide in, I’ve never been able to do that.”

- Jonathan Skinner, who lives with Alison and Gary Cooper, Shared Lives carers in Somerset.