Whether it is dealing with the virus itself, being impacted by unemployment, feeling isolated, or the tragedy of losing a loved one, we have all had a very personal experience of living through this pandemic, and we know that it is not over yet. South London Listens, is a partnership between the NHS, local authorities, and community organisations to urgently respond to the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.
What is South London Listens?
South London Listens was launched in 2020, by the three mental health Trusts in south London (South London and Maudsley, South West London and St Georges, and Oxleas).
Over the following 12 months, through community meetings, group conversations and a listening campaign we heard from more than 6,000 people across south London about the impact the pandemic had on them and their ideas for how we can support them to recover.
The South London Listens community listening campaign culminated in a community summit in June 2021 where the community presented their asks for how we can support their recovery from the pandemic.
Along with the other mental health Trusts, local authorities, public bodies and community groups, we were proud to pledge our support to their asks.
The South London Listens Action Plan sets out how we will deliver these pledges across the four priority areas:
- Loneliness, social isolation and community involvement
- Work and wages
- Children, young people and parental mental health
- Access to services
The two-year plan, launched in October 2021, details what the community asked us to do and the work we will be doing to fulfil our pledges.
An Accountability Summit will take place in summer 2022 to demonstrate progress made against our pledges.
South London Listens Taskforce
Collaboration is at the heart of the South London Listens programme and the Action Plan will be delivered in partnership by the community and all those who pledged support.
The programme is overseen by the South London Listens Taskforce, chaired by Ann Beasley CBE (Chair, South West London and St Georges NHS Trust) and Sir Norman Lamb (Chair, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) is made up of representative from the three south London mental health Trusts, local authorities and the community.
The South London Listens story
South London Listens began life as the Mental Ill-Health Prevention and Recovery Programme. Launched in 2020 in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of our communities, it was driven by the three mental health Trusts in south London (South London and Maudsley, South West London and St Georges, and Oxleas).
July 2020 South London Mental Ill Health Prevention Summit
We held an urgent summit in July 2020 in partnership with Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth councils to address how we could work together to protect our communities’ mental health as result of Covid-19 pandemic.
November 2020 South London Listens community listening campaign
In November 2020, we launched the South London Listens community listening campaign at our second summit. For this phase we partnered with Citizens UK to carry out a listening campaign to find out how the Covid-19 pandemic was affecting our communities.
Between November 2020 and March 2021, the campaign heard from 5,732 people across South London and focused on reaching groups disproportionately affected by mental ill health. There were also ‘mini-summits’ in several boroughs, attended by community leaders and MPs to share their experiences and ideas.
Throughout March and April 2021, these events were complimented by an online survey which was completed by nearly 600 people.
Find out more:
June 2021 South London Listens Community Summit
The South London Listens community listening campaign culminated with a third community summit on 16 June 2021.
The South London Listens Community Summit was attended by hundreds of community leaders and members of the public, and we were joined by South West London and St George's NHS Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and local councils.
The community leaders shared some of the inspiring stories they had heard as part of the listening campaign and presented a series of specific asks designed to help prevent a mental health crisis as a result of the pandemic.
At the summit we pledged:
- To develop a virtual waiting room to support children and young people waiting for mental health treatment
- To resource parent groups to offer peer-to-peer support
- To invest in mental health practitioners based in community organisations
- To work towards developing a culturally competent workforce
- To champion the living wage within the health sector
- To support hundreds of local people to become Mental Health Champions and the development of Mental Health Hubs
- To work with councils and community groups to develop a social isolation, loneliness and digital inclusion strategy
- To publish an action plan for delivering our pledges
- To continue to meet with community leaders
- To become an anchor institution
- To attend an Accountability Assembly next year