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Charity launches research project to boost mental health support

May 10, 2021 | Leisure & Lifestyle

A leading North East charity has launched a new befriending research project to target mental health needs across the region.

Pioneering Care Partnership (PCP), a health and wellbeing charity, are underway creating a befriending focused insight that will engage with professionals, organisations and service users in and around County Durham.

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, PCP want to shine light on the importance of befriending research, as it will offer a response to future mental health services.

Carol Gaskarth, Chief Executive of PCP and Chair of the Resilient Communities Group for County Durham said: “Befriending services can be a lifeline for people, helping to tackle loneliness and isolation, and supporting people to feel part of their community whilst provide much needed one-to-one support.

“Conducting research and considering the needs of our communities is vital; services should be developed by those who might access them to ensure delivery is effective.

“The newly appointed Researchers will be very busy understanding what is currently available and working with people in County Durham to look at new opportunities and designing what could be offered in the future.

“Through funding provided by the Mental Health and Learning Disability Partnership Board we will be able to test approaches, support the voluntary and community sector to develop services and hopefully build on the excellent work that is already happening across the County.”

Befriending services typically bring together isolated individuals or communities to offer them companionship and a voice.

The Befriending Research Project team is made up of Kelly Carswell and Victoria Dixon, who will actively engage with those connected to befriending services across the North East.

Research will cover pre-Covid and post-Covid analysis of befriending services to create a clear timeline of the impact of COVID-19 and befriending mental health services.

Many befriending services throughout the UK are delivered through charitable organisations who rely on volunteer support.