Lambeth Prevention and Promotion for Better Mental Health and Wellbeing

Evaluation in progress

Outputs March 2024



What does the research mean for Local Authorities?

For the Lambeth public health team and community organisations, it will provide findings about how the Outreach Worker, Loneliness Project and the Black Men’s Consortium worked, who benefitted most, and the best way to run them going forward. For public health leaders, it will inform them the benefit to the local community and associated costs, and make recommendations for how best to organise the services going forward. For the people being interviewed, it will allow them to share their experience of running or receiving parts of the programmes.

What does the evaluation research mean for the Public?

The evaluation seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of how the programmes function, the factors that influenced their effectiveness, the intended and unintended outcomes, the roles played by the community and organisations involved.   This will provide a range of stakeholders in the mental health and wellbeing of the public, with evidence that can be used to improve the effectiveness of future initiatives.

How are the public involved in the evaluation?

Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) will be embedded through both the PHIRST Connect PIRg’s input and wider lay and public contributors recruited to a project specific ‘Public Voice’ group. Two members of the PIRg have been supporting project development since the evaluability phase of our work, attending project meetings and commenting on ideas and proposals. The two PIRg members will also support local PPIE activities which will soon be advertised to local people via existing PPIE networks at the local NHS trusts and via community organisations involved in the programmes being evaluated.

Lay summary of research

With funding from former Public Health England, Lambeth Borough Council launched the ‘Lambeth Prevention and Promotion for Better Mental Health programme’ in September 2021 to support community members respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their mental wellbeing. The programme was made up of nine individual projects. This project evaluated three of these projects: the Outreach Worker, the Loneliness Project, and The Black Men’s Consortium.

The Outreach Worker was employed by the Ascension Trust with funding from the Lambeth Public Health Team, as part of the Better Mental Health programme, from October 2021 for one year. The Outreach Worker engaged with community members about preventing mental health problems and aimed to build a rapport with individuals, reduce mental health inequalities, and reach the most underserved community members most at risk of poor mental health.

The Loneliness Project targeted community members who were older and living alone, often having multiple long-term health needs and at risk of frailty and ill-health, with the aim of building confidence among these individuals. Starting in December 2021 and continuing into March 2022, activities such as, singing, craft workshops, coffee mornings, and wellbeing days were held in the community. These activities were supported by local organisations, including Tea and Harmony, Carers 4 Carers, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and Lambeth’s Health and Wellbeing bus.

The Black Men’s Consortium is a community-led project that aims to improve mental health and wellbeing among working age black men. The Black Men’s Consortium uses art therapy to support members to share opinions and feelings around mental health, wellbeing, and the issues they face on a daily basis. Following on from weekly sessions that started in September 2021, members created podcasts and a drama performance that was presented in December 2021; the podcasts and the performance presented the members’ views on mental health, coping in times of stress, and how the Black Men’s Consortium had benefited them.

It is important to evaluate public health programmes to see how well they worked, who they worked for, what settings they worked best in, and how much they cost. This project is using a ‘realist evaluation’, which involves speaking to a range of people involved in organising and running the Outreach Worker, Loneliness Project and the Black Men’s Consortium to get their ideas of how the projects worked and the benefits that people in the community might have had as a result. The people interviewed will include those who have asked for projects to be delivered, those involved in running and delivering projects and those who have engaged with projects within the community. By speaking to a range of people and looking at a range of materials, the evaluation aims to get a full picture of the ways in which the projects work, the factors influencing how the projects worked, the outcomes of the project (both intended and unintended), and how the community and organisations involved played a role.

Local Authority/Partner(s)

Lambeth Borough Council

PHIRST Connect Research Team

Professor Katherine Brown, Professor Julia Jones, Dr Olujoke Fakoya, Lisa Miners, Dr Adam P Wagner, Dr David Wellsted, Imogen Freethy, Nigel Lloyd, Nigel Smeeton, Amander Wellings, Katherine Barrett, Dr Stephine Williams, Kayley Kwah and Lauren Schumacher.

*All PHIRST Connect members input into every project