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Independent evaluation of Live Well Kent

We're supporting more people with severe mental illness

Our community mental health service for people in Kent has supported more than double the number of people with severe mental illness than anticipated, an independent evaluation has found.

Live Well Kent is a network of local organisations and services working together to help people manage their mental health.

Because poor mental health can affect other areas of people’s lives, the network also provides support with issues relating to physical health, connecting with others, finding work or maintaining a tenancy.

Live Well Kent was established in 2016 and is run by two charities – Porchlight and The Shaw Trust – on behalf of Kent County Council and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups.

An independent evaluation conducted by the University of Kent found that over the past three years, Porchlight’s network has provided support to 7638 individuals with a range of mental health needs – including people with more severe mental health illness.

“We know that the mental health landscape is changing and demand is increasing because of more awareness, as well as other social factors,” said Chris Coffey, director of operations at Porchlight.

“Historically a lot of funding for mental health has been directed at secondary (specialist) mental health support and not in community-based services. Nationally there is a shift in thinking, policy and funding for the balance to change to ensure better outcomes for people close to home. Rising demand and workforce capacity is also putting pressure on those specialist, secondary services.

“As this evaluation shows, we’ve supported more than double the number of people with severe mental illness than we were asked to. By offering high quality, targeted support, we’re helping statutory services meet the growing demand but importantly, we’re supporting people where they live through local, community services – we’re very proud of that.”

Targeted support

The evaluation also demonstrates Live Well Kent’s reach into areas of high deprivation where risks around mental health issues are higher – the majority of people lived in the poorest areas of Kent.

And despite high demand for the service, the response rate is good. 95% of people were contacted within two days from referral and 70% started the service within one week.

The Live Well Kent model was also seen to be cost-effective. The social return on investment (SROI) analysis shows that every £1 spent returned at least £4 in social value.

The report recommends longer term services to allow Live Well Kent to have an even bigger impact, including with those from areas of deprivation and people with severe mental illness.