The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and being by run by Hafal, with the support of the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH).
Our aim is to reach out to people with a mental illness and their carers in Wales and provide them with the opportunity to link up and connect with others in the same situation – both virtually (via an online community) and in person (by linking into existing local networks of users and carers).
Loneliness is on the rise in the UK for a number of reasons, and for those affected by mental illness the problem is even more acute.
We know that experiencing a mental health problem can have a significant impact on a person’s life and is very likely to lead to reduced social contact. Often people feel excluded from society, which is partly caused by the stigma still attached mental illness. In cases of more severe mental health problems like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder the issues of loneliness and isolation also affects carers.
Feedback from our service users and as well the results from our own loneliness survey of 480 people both confirm that this is an issue that must be tackled.
By creating this community Connect for Recovery will help people with a mental illness and their carers:
- to reduce the loneliness and isolation experienced by many by giving them the opportunity to safely become part of a virtual community,
- to overcome the obstacles they face in rural areas in making contact with others and accessing information and services
- to tackle the digital divide (through the community portals) between the majority who have ready access to the internet and a vulnerable minority who do not
- to ensure that users can access key information via a safe portal – and use that portal in accessible and safe venues within their local communities.
Help shape Connect for Recovery
The project is being made for and led by our service users and carers, and we’re calling for more people to get involved and help shape Connect for Recovery by completing our short survey.
You can take the survey by clicking here (this is also available in Welsh here).
By completing the survey you’ll also have a chance to join our mailing list or to become one of the beta testers for the website. As a beta tester you’ll be granted early access and help us with the final development stages before release.
We hope to launch the website at the beginning of the summer, however this could change depending on the success for the beta testing from users. You can find more information at hafal.org/connect-for-recovery-information/.
Hafal (meaning ‘equal’) is the principal organisation in Wales working with individuals recovering from serious mental illness and their families. We are managed by the people we support – individuals with serious mental illness and their families. Every day our staff members and volunteers provide help to over 1,000 people affected by serious mental illness: this includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diagnoses which typically involve psychosis or high levels of care, and which may require hospital treatment.