VCSE Mental Health Surge programme

Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) mental health services are viewed as a recognised appropriate and safe pathway back to community support. As such, during Covid-19 they experienced an unprecedented surge in demand for mental health support, both from professional signposting and self-referrals.

Organisations delivering these services wanted to be able to react to spikes and changes in demand and avoid placing people on waiting lists, but were hampered by both the availability of staff and the resources to recruit. The pandemic highlighted the need for the VCSE sector in Greater Manchester to have a more flexible and resilient workforce, able to respond quickly to shifts in supply and demand from those in need.

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 was a suite of initiatives that concentrated funds on creative ways of getting mental health support to where and when it was needed most, and on building collaborative approaches that would harness the strengths, specialisms, expertise and diversity of the VCSE sector.

Three projects were identified that would maximise the impact in response to the surge in demand and at the same time create a more robust and resilient infrastructure of support to deal with future delivery:

* 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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