Sector Challenge Programme

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Challenges around staff wellbeing and better data sharing for social prescribing

Prior to COVID-19, mental health services were often unable to provide all patients with the level of care they required because of a lack of resources. The increase in demand on services is having a negative impact on the provision of mental health services in the UK.

We are supporting two sector challenges for organisations that support individuals experiencing mental health challenges. These challenges have come from a series of open discussions between DOT PROJECT and organisations working in mental health and wellbeing.

Challenge 1: Supportive online environments ▼

We want to test approaches to creating a supportive online environment for staff and volunteers working with people who are experiencing mental health crises.

In England, the Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 10 million people – almost a fifth of the population – will need mental health support as a direct consequence of COVID-19, with 1.5 million of those expected to be children and young people under 18. The effect on people with pre-existing mental health problems and on those from underprivileged backgrounds is even greater. Mental health charities report increasing demand for help. Many have had to adapt their services very quickly and find ways of meeting additional demand with reduced resources.

This grant focuses on how to innovate and strengthen support for the wellbeing of mental health staff and volunteers who are dealing with complex and difficult situations whilst working remotely.

In a physical setting there are measures in place to support the wellbeing of staff, and provide debriefing and counselling services. It is much easier for team managers to see how staff are coping in a physical setting. In an online setting, teams might be working asynchronously, and cannot gain full insight into the complex situations their team members are dealing with. Organisations are reporting high risk of staff burnout amongst the people who work with  individuals most in need.

Examples of the challenges staff are facing include:

  • Feeling that internal communication is difficult in a remote setting and not knowing how to reach out for support
  • Finding online communication with service users overwhelming, as creating a safe space online feels difficult
  • Feeling that there is no where to go when they feel affected by an interaction with a service user, finding it difficult to decompress

We are looking for three organisations who focus on those hit hardest by COVID-19 to join a funded opportunity to work collaboratively with a digital partner over 11 weeks to design and test how to create a more supportive environment for staff and volunteers.

If you're not able to apply for the grant, we'd love you to contribute your ideas through paid consultations. Sign up below and we'll be in touch.

Apply for this challengeSign up for consultation

Challenge 2: Strengthening approaches for social prescribing ▼

We want to innovate and strengthen data sharing between services in order to promote better social prescribing across organisations in the mental health and wellbeing sector.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and lockdown in the UK, organisations supporting individuals experiencing mental health challenges have experienced a significant increase in demand for their services.

Social prescribing, particularly from statutory services (e.g. provided by local authority/NHS) to VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) led services, relies on data flowing between different actors in the system. Statutory services need a holistic view of the services available to enable effective social prescribing, but data infrastructure at a system level is not currently functioning well. A lack of data sharing leads to a risk of duplication and results in missed opportunities to signpost service users into community mental health support.

We are looking for three organisations who focus on this area to join a funded opportunity to work collaboratively with a digital partner over 11 weeks to promote better social prescribing across organisations in the mental health and wellbeing sector.

If you're not able to apply for the grant, we'd love you to contribute your ideas through paid consultations. Sign up below and we'll be in touch.

Apply for this challengeSign up for consultation

This is one of four themes in the Sector Challenge Programme.

You'll find more information about the programme, eligiblity criteria, and how to apply here:

Find out more and apply