“When you are tired, hungry and afraid it is very hard to even begin to engage with others. Location matters – my surroundings can influence my moods, mental health and feeling safe.”
#HealthNow peer volunteer
Our research and lived experience tell us that people experiencing both homelessness and mental health issues are worried about being stigmatised in healthcare settings. Many people have told us they felt judged when they reached out for help and stigmatised about their mental health and that this caused feelings of shame and embarrassment.
To help tackle this stigma, we have brought together some resources to help you and your team to:
- Understand this fear and how to recognise it.
- Identify actions you can take to ensure your service is welcoming
- Help the people around you to recognise and avoid stigmatising behaviours
Resources that you can use with your team and your patients or clients
Groundswell & Mind leaflet ‘You have the right to feel OK’
This leaflet can be shared with anyone who might find it helpful, to help them understand their rights to mental health support if they’re experiencing homelessness and having thoughts, feelings or experiences that are upsetting or overwhelming.
#HealthNow peer research report ‘Knowing where to turn: access to mental health support whilst experiencing homelessness’
Accessing mental health support while experiencing homelessness is challenging and complex. This qualitative, peer research is based on interviews with 73 people experiencing homelessness and 7 stakeholders. The findings highlight the key difficulties people who are homeless face when experiencing poor mental health.
‘Clarissa’, the film
Clarissa’s story is one of trauma, the importance of trust, and how this impacts someone’s experiences of healthcare. It has been woven together from real experiences of people trying to access the healthcare system while facing homelessness in the UK. This film is used by many healthcare providers in team meetings, training or inductions.
Watch the film and download the resource pack on our site
Listen Up! Insight 1: Mental health and homelessness
This Insight draws on nationwide research interviews with 44 people experiencing homelessness and a selection of stories from our 14 community reporters, who all have lived experience of homelessness.
Groundswell Resources Hub
This hub includes resources for people experiencing homelessness and professionals supporting them, and it covers topics such as coping with suicidal thoughts.
Making your service welcoming and psychologically informed
Being ‘trauma-informed’ means understanding that trauma can affect people, groups and communities, recognising the signs and symptoms, and avoiding retraumatising people. To learn about making your work trauma informed, you can use this resource on Trauma and Trauma Informed Care
Learn about creating a Psychologically Informed Environment using a range of resources on the Homeless Link website
If you prefer a short video, this animation was produced by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) in partnership with the Scottish Government:
Alternatively, there is a slightly longer guided workshop (which includes the animation) that contains exercises to guide you and your team through applying a Trauma Informed approach in your own work:
More information about #HealthNow
#HealthNow is a national programme aiming to work towards an inclusive system where everyone has access to the health care they need, ultimately moving people out of homelessness. It is led by Groundswell and delivered in partnership with Crisis and Shelter. Find out more at groundswell.org.uk/healthnow
For more information about #HealthNow, peer research or health guides for people experiencing homelessness, please contact [email protected]
You can also help by sharing our campaign:
- Share on social media:
- Leave a message of support that we can share with others, saying what you plan to do to tackle stigma:
- Download an electronic PDF copy of our leaflet which you can share with other services in your area
- To stay in touch with our work, please sign up to our newsletter
“No one should feel stigmatised trying to access healthcare. Stigma leads to withdrawal from services, isolation.”
#HealthNow peer volunteer