Change that leads to better lives

Shared Lives Mental Health Project Evaluation

In February 2016, NDTi were commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Shared Lives Mental Health Project on behalf of Shared Lives Plus.

Shared Lives is a form of social care which has historically been used primarily for people with learning disabilities. In Shared Lives, an adult who needs support or accommodation is matched with an approved Shared Lives carer, who supports and includes the individual in their family and community life. The Cabinet Office has funded Shared Lives Plus to deliver a project to support the development of Shared Lives as an option for people with mental ill health.

Funded by the Cabinet Office, seven local Shared Lives schemes were awarded grants of up to £15,000 to support the further development of Shared Lives to support people with mental ill health. Operating for 12 months to December 2016, the project has supported development activities in Shared Lives schemes in the following areas:

  • Bradford
  • Derby
  • East Sussex
  • Lincolnshire
  • North Somerset
  • Rochdale
  • Telford and Wrekin

Although all seven project schemes experienced challenges and frustrations in developing support for people with mental ill health, this evaluation has found evidence of the positive impact that having support through a Shared Lives arrangement – whether it is day support, short breaks or long-term arrangements – can have on the lives of people with mental ill health.

Examples have been seen of improvements in general wellbeing and increased participation in community life, as well as specific examples where people’s mental health has stabilised and hospital stays have been prevented. Shared Lives will not be right for everyone, but for the right person, at the right point in their mental health recovery, Shared Lives can offer an individualised, person-centred form of support at the heart of the community. As such, it has the potential to play an important role as one option, among other types of accommodation, short breaks and day support on offer to people with mental ill health.

The NDTi report can be found here.

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