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About SHaRON


“One in four adults and one in ten children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.” NHS England 2021. 

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health ( says, 

“The NHS needs a far more proactive and preventative approach to reduce the long-term impact for people experiencing mental health problems and for their families, and to reduce costs for the NHS and emergency services”. Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated at £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS. 

Two incredibly sobering quotes regarding mental health, and if you search you will no doubt find more statistics to add to the increasing volume surrounding mental health.  

The report states: 

Provision for mental health support must be increased so that:  

  • People can access services conveniently, have greater choice, and can network with peers to provide mutual support and guidance 
  • Providers can deliver a more nuanced service, with contact provided through digital media backed up by face-to-face interventions (page 39 The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (
  • Commissioners can improve outcomes through low-cost and easily scalable interventions 
  • Providers can work securely to share patient data on electronic health records, where appropriate, to benchmark their performance and to test new service models 
  • People who use services, carers and the wider public can hold the system to account by using data across the entire pathway (from prevention and access through to productivity and outcomes) to scrutinise performance

Please contact the SHaRON Team to discuss how SHaRON could benefit your service, visit the contact us page 


For over a decade the SHaRON team has been supporting services with unique, secure and dynamic mental health digital platforms, helping them to continue to put patients at the heart of care. 

The SHaRON HQ Team frequently analyse data to validate the integration of SHaRON digital platforms into NHS services. Current SHaRON analysis shows the following benefits:-  

  • Building capacity in the service; the SHaRON service platform integration supports safe interventions 
  • Supports patients and relatives and carers self-management of long term and lifelong conditions 
  • Enhances clinical team with support from volunteers and peers 
  • Open when the office is closed 24/7 providing flexible service provision 
  • One clinician can support many individuals at the same time 
  • Bespoke accurate library of information supplied by the service 
  • Accessible anywhere anytime on any device 
  • Enables early intervention when deterioration is suspected 
  • Supports stepped down discharge from a service 
  • Reaches out to individuals isolated by their situation 
  • Improve customer satisfaction with access to flexible services 
  • Virtual groups and workshops
  • Provides peer to peer communication

In 2020 we asked service members about why they access SHaRON they provided the following feedback. 

Members were asked, "What reasons do you log into SHaRON?". The most popular access reason for most platforms, was advice and guidance from other members or moderators. 


SHaRON was born from clinicians watching the interactions between patients in a waiting room, and noted the need to support that interaction in safe, monitored environment. We fundamentally believe in 'You said, we do' approach, mirroring the BHFT's outstanding methodologies. We improve and evolve through site evaluation and regular communication with SHaRON services in order to enhance the digital service our platforms provide, for the benefit of service staff and ultimately service users. As well as analysing data internally we are keen to collaborate with external research too.  Please read below about the research SHaRON is involved with. 


We have also worked with Janssen, to establish and understand the myriad of benefits peer to peer support via the SHaRON network bring. To view their findings click the Janssen Healthcare report here.  

If this research interests you and you would like to get involved, please contact us via the contact us page. 

 ofcom logo

In 2023 SHaRON supported Ofcoms report: Listening to experts - Mental Health and Media Literacy


University of Reading

Our latest research, concluded in 2021, with University of Reading, centred around the benefit to service staff and service provision that SHaRON provides. SHaRON HQ provides a full range of training, guidance and support for teams using SHaRON for the first time, or for those that are well established.     


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NIHR logo

Improving Peer-to-Peer Online Forums – IPOF. 

SHaRON and BHFT Research & Development Team are working in partnership with Lancaster University on a 3-year National Health & Care (NIHR) funded research project. 

“We aim to find out: how online mental health forums work; why some work better than others; and why some people find them helpful and others do not. Based on what we find, we will work with people who use forums; people employed to support forums, and people who set up and fund forums; to develop tools to improve the design and support of online mental health forums 

Throughout the project, we will work closely with those who are involved with forums on a day-to-day basis. This includes those with lived experience of mental health issues and use forums, those who help to support forums (moderators), those who help to design and run forums, and those in senior positions of healthcare services who determine to fund online forums. 

Our team includes people with experience in seeking support for mental health problems; people who fund, run and support online mental health forums; and people with the skills to collect and analyse the data. Our outputs will be shared with people taking part in the research, and then widely across mental health and academic groups.” 

Watch the Lancaster University Mental Health Forum Animation which looks at the opportunity and potential benefits of using a digital community to support well-being and positive mental health. 

For more information please visit IPOF | Lancaster University or contact the SHaRON team via 

We are pleased to bring you the published findings for Understanding the Impacts of Online Mental Health Peer Support Forums: Realist Synthesis, which has produced 5 main theory areas. Please click on the following link to read the research in full JMIR Mental Health - Understanding the Impacts of Online Mental Health Peer Support Forums: Realist Synthesis


I never thought something online could be such a strong support but then that's the best bit.