Social services are broken. How can we fix them?

Hilary Cottam – author of Radical Help – wants to redesign the welfare state using the power of relationships.

This has relevance to the subject of mental health not only because the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is a major part of the wider welfare system, but also because human relationships and human-scale communities are key elements in the creation of a wellbeing society.

You can find out more about her ideas in a 15 minute TEDTalk video (see below), the introductory text for which says:

“When a family falls into crisis – and it sometimes happens, thanks to unemployment, drugs, bad relationships and bad luck – the social services system is supposed to step in and help them get back on track.

As Hilary Cottam shows, in the UK a typical family in crisis can be eligible for services from more than 70 different agencies, but it’s unlikely that any one of them can really make a difference.

Cottam, a social entrepreneur herself, asks us to think about the ways we solve deep and complex social problems. How can we build supportive, enthusiastic relationships between those in need and those that provide help?”

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