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Prosper: a social movement approach to mental health

Daniel Barrett (Co-production Practitioner and Prosper Lead, based in South West London and at St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, London, UK)
Janette Benson (based at Prosper, London, UK)
Rhiannon Foster (Researcher, based at Prosper, London, UK)
Alan Leader (INSPIRE Co-Facilitator, based at Sutton Mental Health Foundation, London, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to describe the conceptual basis and development of Prosper: an emerging and evolving self-directed network and movement for people with lived experience of mental health problems in South West London.


The conceptual principles from which Prosper emerged – co-production, recovery and social movement approaches – are outlined. The ways in which these ideas were translated into action, the guiding principles and operation of Prosper are then described.


An evolving self-directed network and movement has been developed that comprises around 150 “members” and a wider network of 20 service user groups across South West London. As well as open forums, collective actions fall under the themes of “create” (peer support, outreach, campaigns, training) and “collaborate” (partnership working with user-led organisations and a Recovery College, peer support networks, supporting the development of personal health budgets and local commissioning, and consultancy). This network has initially been funded by South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust with a view to it becoming an independent entity.


The innovative and evolving social network and movement for people with lived experience of mental health problems that is continuously influenced and changed by the skills, ideas and energy of its growing and developing membership could act as a useful model for others to follow.



Barrett, D., Benson, J., Foster, R. and Leader, A. (2014), "Prosper: a social movement approach to mental health", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 188-197.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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