Mental health

We know that people with mental health needs can and do recover – this belief is crucial to how we deliver supported housing and care.

We know that people with mental health needs can and do recover – and that people with mental health needs, with the right support, can and do live fulfilling lives in the community. These beliefs are central to how we deliver support, care and housing services.

We design and deliver integrated, recovery-focused, person-centred services that we deliver in partnership with the NHS. We work with people at all stages of the mental health pathway and our focus is on supporting people to build skills, live independently and stay well living in the community wherever possible.

Our services

We are proud to be one of the largest providers of specialist mental health support services across London and the South East. We deliver a wide range of services in partnership with the NHS – from our hospital discharge and community-based rehabilitation services to our crisis houses, forensic step-down and medication management schemes.

Over the last year, we have delivered 34 specialist mental health services, across 18 local authorities and seven Integrated Care Systems, supporting over 1400 people.

Our services include:

Our Crisis and Recovery Houses provide alternatives to acute hospital admission for individuals experiencing a crisis or relapse in their mental health. Delivered in partnership with clinical teams, they provide 24-hour short-term, intensive support, providing a credible community-based alternative to inpatient care. We currently deliver crisis houses in Tower Hamlets and Islington.

Our hospital discharge services are designed to help people in mental health inpatient wards return home more quickly when their clinical needs have been met. Sometimes patients are ready to leave hospital but face other, non-medical, barriers to being discharged.

Patients are referred to us, and we work with them on the ward to try and overcome the barriers to discharge. This might be related to housing, access to social care packages or longer-term support, documentation, benefit claims or immigration. We even provide a repatriation service where patients wish to return to their country of origin if outside of the UK. Our staff are based at hospitals and work closely with NHS colleagues, sharing systems and office space.

Many patients go on to receive support from our linked floating support services which provides a seven days per week, and out-of-hours support. This provides help with medication, tenancy, social and other issues, helping to address issues before they escalate and therefore helping to reduce crises and unplanned emergency admissions.

Our rehabilitation services provide supported accommodation, clinical input and therapeutic support to people leaving hospital – all the things we know are important for an individual’s long-term recovery. These services help people bridge the gap from in-patient, secure or care settings to living independently in their own homes. They often support people who have been living in institutions or out of borough, sometimes for several years.

These services typically subcontract clinical input from the local NHS mental health trust and our support staff work alongside clinicians including psychiatrists, occupational therapists and CMHT colleagues to support individuals at every stage of their rehabilitation and recovery.

We deliver forensic step-down services for individuals with high mental health needs and forensic histories who may be leaving secure or forensic care settings. Our expert and specialist teams deliver 24-hour accommodation-based safe and responsive services support in partnership with clinical teams and statutory agencies.

Our medication support teams provide one-to-one support to people in their own homes, helping  individuals to develop the awareness, skills and routines to manage their own medication needs. Our teams visit daily (sometimes more) to deliver, observe or administer medication, and work closely with clinical teams, stepping support up or down as customers’ needs change.

Most individuals we work with are helped within our supported housing services. This includes accommodation-based hostel and floating support services.

Different accommodation-based services offer different levels of support – from intensive 24 hour supported housing for those leaving care or hospital, to medium and low-level support where customers typically move on within two years. As a registered social landlord, we can provide these services in our own buildings or properties owned by others.

Our floating support services provide flexible support to people with mental health needs in their own homes, helping them to manage and maintain their tenancies and stay well, active and meaningfully involved living in their community.

Our approach

We have over 50 years experience of supporting people to make choices, take control and move forwards with their lives through our Look Ahead approach, providing services that are personalised, co-produced and delivered in partnership with health.

We work across the full mental health pathway, developing solutions with the NHS, Integrated Care Systems and local authorities to improve customer outcomes and reduce pressures on the health service.

Across our mental health services we do this through our recovery approach, supporting each individual:

As a whole person, with their own strengths, goals and aspirations

With care and compassion, seeing beyond their clinical diagnosis

To build their skills, resilience, confidence and hope

To live a purposeful and satisfying life, that takes account of but is not limited by their needs or diagnosis

In partnership with the NHS and clinicians, ensuring each individual is helped to access the clinical and social support they need

Around their physical health and wellbeing as well as their mental health, helping them to manage any risk factors and co-morbidities, access primary and specialist services and live a healthy lifestyle


"Being at Look Ahead is the first time I have ever had any support for my mental health needs. It’s great to have staff that you can talk to who won’t judge you."

Read Lisa's story