Activating Social Health

We want to put the social back into healthcare, by building people-powered systems of wellness.

Health systems across the world struggle to meet demand. However, there is increasing recognition that the medicalisation of health has unintentionally reduced the opportunity for individuals, families and communities to contribute to their own health outcomes.

We believe that social innovation can make a significant contribution to addressing this situation. We’re particularly interested in partnering with health organisations to develop:

  • Innovation and improvement systems powered by lived-experience and co-design
  • Peer support models
  • Social treatments for illnesses that are ‘social’ in origin
  • Commissioning that catalyses the capacity of individuals and communities to manage their health


Health Needs and Priorities in South Australia

Healthcare and health needs for South Australia, an examination.

Health Needs and Priorities in South Australia

Lived-experience co-design

There’s a growing evidence base to support the involvement of lived experience in service improvement and redesign, but to do it well requires creating the right infrastructure for innovation within our institutions.

We’re working to grow a mental health service’s ability to co-design with consumers and carers. Through practical skill building and project coaching, we’re creating opportunities for consumers and carers to play a greater role in the decisions that shape and affect their lives.


Peer support

We believe that peers with lived experience are an underused resource when it comes to supporting people through illness.

We have designed, run and are building an evidence base for Weavers– a peer to peer and open source model of carer support that is currently being trialled in caring situations involving cognitive decline and palliative care. The model creates positive outcomes for the supporting peer and the carer, including mental health outcomes.

Social treatment

We believe that social ‘treatments’ deserve their place alongside medical treatments for ill health – particularly for illnesses that have ‘social’ origins such as obesity, loneliness, and poverty related illnesses.

We’re testing a range of approaches that prevent and reduce social isolation among high risk groups, with a focus on older adults. While many people are worried about loneliness, they don’t always have the social skills or urgency to increase their social connections. We’re developing interventions to change that.

Catalytic commissioning

We believe that commissioning of health ‘services’ needs to be done in ways that activate individual, family and community capacity to build health and wellness.

We’re helping one of South Australia’s philanthropic organisations to understand health priorities across the state, to strengthen their funding strategy in health. We’re combining an understanding of existing research, the perspectives of those working within the health system, and the experiences of health consumers, to discover opportunities to radically increase wellness.

“People power and lived experience are fundamental in creating and defining health now and in the future.”

Carla Clarence

Carla Clarence

Principal: Social Health

Meet the Social Health team

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