Connecting People

What is this study?

This is a study about a programme called Connecting People based at the University of York and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School of Social Care Research. It seeks to support the development of people’s social networks as part of a mental health recovery journey. For several years, Professor Martin Webber has been working with others to create a socially-focused, impactful mental health programme. The development phase of the research involves creating resources for community mental health teams to  deliver the Connecting People programme. An observation phase will follow where data will be collected to see how the programme was delivered in practice and whether people benefited. The Think Ahead social work programme will provide the practitioners who will be trained to deliver Connecting People.


Why is this research important?

Social networks are important for managing mental health and wellbeing. Much of the work of community mental health teams is currently focused upon risk management, medication adherence and psychological support. Although teams want to support people to develop connections to ordinary activities and people around them, they can struggle to do so within the confines of their job roles. Connecting People seeks to change that and make it easy in routine practice for staff and service users to work together to pursue socially-focused goals that have long lasting health benefits.


How are McPin involved?

We were asked to join the study because of our work on wellbeing networks and interest in the Connecting People programme. Specifically, in this research, we led the stakeholder involvement programme and chaired a working group that advised on decisions made within the research team and co-produced the resources. The working group has both practitioner and service user members, although most are service users.


What is the current status of the project?

This project started in April 2017 and has been completed. The development phase involved working with designers based at the University of York. We produced engaging resources including a training manual, service user guide, practitioner resource kit, a website and did voiceovers for an animation of the Connecting People model. The observation phase involved using the materials in five sites.

In July 2019, members of the co-production working group reunited to talk about their experiences. Read more about this here.

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information please contact Vanessa Pinfold by email: