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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 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.

People with mental ill health say that their lives become more stable as part of a Shared Lives family: they can rebuild their lives, make new relationships and pursue personal interests in the community. Watch Meg’s powerful story as she tells us how Shared Lives helped her do just this. Now a Shared Lives Plus ambassador, Meg (pictured above right) frequently attends meetings, conferences and events to help promote the benefits of Shared Lives and share her own inspirational story.

Our latest ‘state of sector’ report (2019-20) shows that Shared Lives in England supported 610 people with mental ill health in that period. Overall, this is quite a small percentage of the total number of Shared Lives arrangements and we believe there is huge scope for potential growth.

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.


Watch Jonathan, Derek and Stuart's stories...

“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.