Innovative Suffolk health scheme is extended

Image: Chloe Newman (left) and Simon Palman-Titchener (right), Healthy Together Peer Support Workers

Mental health Charity Suffolk User Forum (SUF), which represents the voices of people living with mental illness, and our local NHS, are celebrating the extension of an innovative project called project ‘Healthy Together’. The project helps the most vulnerable people living with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) (schizophrenia, psychosis, and bipolar disorder) to access the physical healthcare that they need.  

The project has successfully supported 200+ people in the last eighteen months through peer support and a personalised care approach. Project data shows an increase on the uptake of healthcare appointments by up to 90% of those referred, supporting adults of all ages in over seventy healthcare, lifestyle, and wellbeing pathways.

People with an SMI live with preventable physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and hypertension and face barriers to accessing the physical healthcare. This means they are more likely to live on average 15 to 20 years less than the general population.

Jayne Stevens SUF’s Chief Executive said 

“It is exciting for SUF to be working closely with our NHS leadership in Suffolk on this innovative project”.

“As a mental health charity we are deeply committed to giving both emotional and practical support to people living with severe mental Illness. Our staff are all peers and use their own lived experience, to make a difference to people’s lives, identifying and addressing previously unmet needs in up to 30% of those referred, giving people both a voice in their own healthcare and a sense of control over their lives. Working closely with people and the NHS we can support primary care services to deliver good health outcomes for some of their most vulnerable patients, reducing health inequalities and hospital admissions.”

Suffolk User Forum is now expanding its Healthy Together team (pictured above). If you would like to be part of this innovative project and are committed to providing compassionate care, interested in a part time position, knowledgeable about mental illness and local support services, please find out more by visiting the charity’s website www.suffolkuserforum.co.uk or by emailing the team at hello@suffolkuserforum.co.uk to arrange an informal conversation.

If you live with a severe mental illness and would like to find out more about this healthcare scheme please visit the Suffolk User Forum Website Healthy Together Peer Support – Suffolk User Forum