Social Return On Investment of EmotionalMind Dynamic (EMD)

Abraham Makanjuola, Ned Hartfiel, Andrew Cuthbert, Mary Lynch, Rhiannon Tudor Edwards

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Background: The percentage of people in Wales experiencing severe mental health issues more than doubled during the COVID19 pandemic (Cardiff University, 2021). In addition, hundreds of people in Wales wait more than a year for help with their mental health (Mind, 2021). One promising solution for reducing wait times and improving mental wellbeing is lifestyle coaching, a systematic and structured approach to helping people make positive changes in their lives.

About EmotionMind Dynamic (EMD): In 2016, EMD lifestyle coaching was created in South Wales to support clients suffering from anxiety or depression, many of whom were referred from the health and social care sectors, including GPs. Clients experience a six-session programme over three months involving self-reflection, introspection, self-analysis, problem solving, goal setting and action taking. The EMD programme challenges negative self-perception and increases self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to estimate the social return on investment (SROI) of EMD lifestyle coaching, both face-to-face and online formats, by comparing the costs of running the programme with the social value generated from clients as measured by improvement in mental wellbeing and self-confidence.

Methods: This study was conducted between May 2021 and March 2022. Study participants included 15 clients from previous face-to-face EMD coaching and 17 clients from a new online version of EMD. Both face-to-face and online formats provided 6 learning modules delivered within a three-month period by a qualified EMD practitioner. For the 15 face-to-face clients, quantitative data was collected retrospectively with a ‘one-time only’ questionnaire. For the 17 new online clients, quantitative data was collected from baseline and follow-up questionnaires. Qualitative data was collected post-programme from interviews with both face-to-face clients (n=8) and online clients (n=8). Outcomes from questionnaires for both face-to-face and online clients included changes in mental wellbeing measured with the Short Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (SWEMWBS) and self-confidence assessed with the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GES). Wellbeing valuation methods were used to quantify and value the outcomes from SWEMWBS and GES. SROI ratios were generated from two separate wellbeing valuation methods: one from the social value calculator (HACT, 2018) and the other from the mental health social value calculator (HACT, 2017). Both calculators are derived from wellbeing valuation, a consistent and robust method recommended in HM Treasury’s Green Book (2018) for measuring social cost-benefit analysis.

Results: SROI ratios were calculated using both the social value calculator and the mental health social value calculator. The results showed that for every £1 invested in the face-to-face EMD programme, £4.12 to £7.08 of social value was generated for clients. For every £1 invested in the online EMD programme, £2.37 to £3.35 of social value was generated for clients.

Discussion: This was the first study to estimate the social return on investment for clients who participated in a lifestyle coaching programme. Wellbeing valuation from two different calculators generated positive SROI ratios for both face-to-face and online delivery. Although the reliability of the results may have been limited due to the lack of a control group, SROI methodology considered this by accounting for deadweight, attribution, and displacement.

Conclusion: The results showed that both face-to-face and online EMD lifestyle coaching generated positive SROI ratios for clients. Quantitative and qualitative data from questionnaires and interviews indicated that many clients improved in mental wellbeing and self-confidence. With continued long waiting lists for people with mental health challenges, face-to-face and online lifestyle coaching may become even more essential across statutory, private and third sectors to meet the growing demand for mental health support.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBangor
PublisherBangor University
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2022


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