Mental Health Surge

Designed by the GM VCSE Mental Health Leadership Group*, funded by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and facilitated by GMCVO, the Mental Health Surge programme is a suite of initiatives that will concentrate funds on creative ways of getting mental health support to where and when it is needed most, and on building collaborative approaches that will harness the strengths, specialisms, expertise and diversity of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

The VCSE mental health sector is experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand. Putting additional funds into individual organisations is not the solution.

The programme is split into five elements. They have been identified as initiatives that will both maximise the impact across the system in response to the surge in demand for mental health services, but also create a more robust and resilient infrastructure of support to deal with future delivery. 

The programme is piloting investment into:

  1. A versatile bank of experienced VCSE sector mental health professionals that can be instantaneously drawn on to counter spikes and surges in demand as they happen. Supported by key VCSE organisations, health and social care professionals from the VCSE sector and beyond are invited to submit their details and register onto the bank here

  2. Funding to allow VCSE organisations to quickly draw down appropriate staff from the bank without having to have the budget/resources/funding to cover the cost or go through a formal recruitment process. This will allow providers to instantaneously counter the emerging surge, deal with waiting lists that are feeding the surge and enable continued face to face work.  Organisations offering Extended Hours of support have been invited to promote their opportunities via the bank, as have those organisations doing collaborative work with partner organisations to support families to access this funding. Any future opportunities will be posted on the Family Support and/or Extended Hours pages.

  3. A collaborative Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) digital offer that builds on the strengths and learning from existing services - see Digital Support for more information.

  4. A wrap-around service that create a cohesive 'family' (both chosen and actual) offer across Greater Manchester - see Family Support for more information.

  5. A project that supports a range of VCSE organisations to increase their capacity by extending hours they operate within. This will look at a collaborative approach to dealing with the practicalities such as safe-guarding and supervision that enables more services and projects to operate evenings and weekends - see Extended Hours for more information.

Why are we doing it?

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) mental health sector is experiencing an unprecedented surge in demand. As an example, demand at A&E from those not previously known to services is increasing by 25%-50%. Because of this, and because VCSE sector services are viewed as a recognised appropriate and safe pathway back to community support, professional signposting and self-referrals to VCSE sector services are increasing. 

Covid-19 has highlighted the need for the VCSE sector to have a more flexible and resilient workforce that can respond to shifts in supply and demand. Organisations want to be able to react to spikes and changes in demand and to avoid placing people on waiting lists, but they are hampered by both the availability of staff and the resources to recruit.

The GM VCSE Mental Health Leadership Group do not believe that putting additional funds into individual organisations is the solution to the current increase in demand.  The group have led a collaborative process to design this programme of initiatives which they hope will enable VCSE organisations to be stronger, more resilient and better connected.  

We want to learn from the crisis and create a stronger, more resilient, more joined up system for the people of Greater Manchester

* The GM VCSE Mental Health Leadership group is made up of 20 organisations operating within mental health and wellbeing, representing and advocating for the other thousands of VCSE organisations that every day strive to support and improve Greater Manchester’s mental health. Representatives are from both localities and communities of identity, experience and culture to align and join the dots across Greater Manchester.


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