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"Promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of people with mental health difficulties through social enterprise”

Hartley, Sandra and Yeowell, Gillian and Powell, Susan (2019) "Promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of people with mental health difficulties through social enterprise”. Mental Health Review Journal. ISSN 1361-9322 (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose Interventions that promote both mental and physical wellbeing have been advocated for people with mental health difficulties, as they have been found to engage less in healthy behaviours and have lower levels of physical fitness. However, no optimal approach to facilitate this undertaking has been identified. This exploratory research aims to explore the experiences of people with psychological distress who accessed a social enterprise that fosters the building of positive social networks in the community, as part of a personalised recovery programme. The intention was to gain an insight into its therapeutic effect in relation to mental and physical health. Methodology An exploratory survey design was undertaken with a purposive sample of 50 individuals who had attended the enterprise. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were employed to analyse the data from both closed and open-ended questions. Findings The wellbeing service appeared to provide a supportive environment that offered people access to social networks through their participation in local services and activities. Fostering participants’ active participation, connection building and the ability to make meaningful contributions helped to facilitate health behaviours that had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing Originality/value This study highlights the potential role of a social enterprise in optimising the social context for promoting the health and wellbeing of people with mental health difficulties.

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