As we begin to transition into the ‘new normal’, the West Midlands’ leading mental health consortium Living Well UK is warning that it is essential that access to key tools and resources for overall well-being are made available. Recognising the growing need for flexible and accessible support structures and services, the charity is debuting its latest offering of well-being services in the form of a virtual well-being platform this week.
The well-being platform – which has been made possible due to a £36,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund – is set to function as a ‘virtual well-being pop-up space’, where users can access a huge variety of mental health resources and well-being content for free.
From video guides to mindfulness and live classes, through to courses on both anger management and sleep management, this virtual service will continue to bridge the gap between Living Well’s usual provision of face-to-face services and its increasingly diverse range of mental health provisions for local communities.
Speaking about this new online offering, Living Well UK’s CEO Ben Howells commented:
“Working with the National Lottery Fund, we’re extremely excited to launch this our virtual well-being platform, which we truly believe will offer a lifeline to those struggling to cope in these socially distant times. The online space will feature a host of resources, videos and live-streamed support groups; all of which will enable us to continue with our mission to make mental health help accessible to anyone in need across the West Midlands, in spite of the current pandemic.
“We are so pleased to be able to add to our growing number of tech-led remote services, including our two free phone helplines in partnership with Birmingham Mind and NHS Birmingham and Solihull CIC, and our live chat service, complete with self-referral forms, on our website. Whether people prefer to browse self-help resources in their own time or to seek professional advice in real, we are proud to offer services that suit everyone.”
As the leading consortium of mental health charities and service providers within the West Midlands, Living Well UK helped over 10,000 people in the region find treatment and wellness programmes last year.
With this latest project, Living Well UK continues to add to a suite of remote support services that have been mobilised since the onset of COVID-19: this includes two mental health helplines, with one designated specifically for key workers; as well as a live chat feature on its website, which connects users with trained therapists via instant messenger. With over 1,000 calls received by the helplines in its first four weeks, the consortium recognises the need to continue to diversify and increase its accessibility for anyone in need.
“As a consortium, we work with our members to support several different age groups and demographics of vulnerable people, and due to the current social distancing measures, it’s more imperative than ever that we support those who are experiencing extra stress, anxiety and loneliness. This incredible funding will enable us to do just that, delivering our services differently, but in a way that we hope enables more people to tap into.
“We want this platform to be as accessible as possible for users and it will be available via smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Equally, we intend to facilitate training costs for staff to ensure that the more vulnerable or elderly – who may be less confident with technology – are not cut off from our resources. This is just the start of what I believe could be a game-changing offering in the mental health services,” concluded Ben.
The virtual well-being platform is now live and completely free to access. To use the platform and receive support today, visit https://livingwellconsortium.com/