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We – a group of service users, academics, carers, voluntary sector and NHS staff – would like to welcome you to Connecting People Sheffield.

This blog aims to be a place to share information about the Connecting People project in Sheffield. We encourage you to share thoughts, stories and ideas about the importance of social connections and how this impacts on mental health recovery. You might be someone with lived experience of mental health difficulties, you may work in mental health services or may just be interested in this subject! Whatever your background we are interested to hear your views. 

Why is this important? 

Social isolation is a serious issue for many people, but much more so for those with mental health problems. Evidence shows that social isolation can have the same impact as smoking on shortening life expectancy. It also shows that networks of friends and acquaintances for those with serious mental health problems can be as small as 12 people – and often those relationships can be fragile or even harmful. 

Social isolation is a health emergency

The Connecting People model has been shown by researchers to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, in particular for those with the most severe and long-lasting problems. 

We have been working with staff and service users in Sheffield for the past year to introduce the idea and have delivered training and made steady progress. We now want to start to build on our initial work and expand the Connecting People model in the city. 

The current situation with lockdowns across the world to slow the spread of coronavirus, further highlights the issue of social isolation. This is a real cause of concern for all but it is also an opportunity to open up conversations about social isolation. 

Please keep an eye on this blog. We’d love to hear your comments and ideas. If you have thoughts about articles or other content we can feature here, please contact richard.bulmer@shsc.nhs.ukliz.fletcher@shsc.nhs.uk or ellie.wildbore@shsc.nhs.uk.

Thank you!