The Life Rooms, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s award-winning social prescribing model for local communities and service users, marked World Mental Health Day (WMHD) with the launch of a new online learning platform to help its population cope with the demands of the Covid-19 local restrictions.
Following the closure of their five Life Rooms centres for the pandemic in March, Life Rooms converted classrooms into call centres, ensuring its 5,000 service users and frontline staff had access to information on health cooking, wellbeing and exercise, and many courses were moved online.
It proved so successful, Life Rooms launched their new online learning platform on WMHD (10 October), where anyone can access any of the 28 courses covering such diverse topics as healthy cooking, Life Rooms fit camp, Understanding Sleep and Problem Solving, which they hope will address the predicted rise in mental health issues because of the lockdown.
Michael Crilly, Mersey Care’s Director of Social Inclusion and Participation, said: “As we continue to co-exist with the coronavirus, it’s become necessary to radically rethink how we can deliver our essential Life Rooms support safely and in a way that can provide learning and community support for mental and physical health and well-being.
“We can’t open our physical buildings but instead we’re opening The Life Rooms On-Line as a fully functioning digital environment through which the full Life Rooms experience will be made available not only to our own local communities but also to a much wider audience.”
Since the launch of The Life Rooms Online, the free content has been viewed over 6,000 times between April and August and over 90 film based courses had more than 14,000 views on The Life Rooms YouTube channel.
There’s plenty of entertainment value, but also practical help for people who may be struggling to cope. Courses are often led by tutors who have themselves experienced mental health issues.
Mr Crilly added: “People will now be able to access our full learning offer in real time as well as in their own time. Video technology and our interactive platform will support people to learn and take control of their own health and ultimately their own life opportunities.
“In our new digital Life Rooms we are able to massively increase the reach and accessibility of The Life Rooms offer so as to tackle the many mental health implications of living alongside coronavirus.
“We believe passionately that by providing early intervention and support we will make a real difference in managing the surge in mental health need and in ultimately supporting individuals and communities to lead happier and healthier lives way beyond a world that is currently dominated by Covid-19.”
Partners for the Life Rooms online platform include Liverpool Philharmonic, Movema and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres. The Life Rooms at Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse theatres is funded through a £40,000 grant from Space to Connect, a partnership between Co-Op Foundation and Government, and between them they have created a suite of creative arts based activities for all to access.