Mental Health and Homelessness
Groundswell believes that everyone needs support sometimes to achieve and maintain positive mental health, in the same way everyone needs support to maintain physical health. The experience of homelessness can make it particularly challenging to have positive mental health so creating proactive opportunities for homeless people to improve mental health and build resilience is vital.
In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will, or have experienced negative mental health symptoms in the past week (*Mental Health Foundation). This figure doesn’t take into account the population who are homeless, sofa surfing or sleeping rough on the streets.
Alcohol, drugs and addiction are often associated with rough sleeping. Mental health is often overlooked entirely or deemed to be a by-product of addiction and the life style of surviving on the streets.
In fact it can be a decline in mental health that pushes people onto the streets and into addictions. This decline in people’s mental health can be attributed to many factors. A previously undiagnosed condition or trauma, financial difficulties, eviction, debt, relationship breakdowns, and the impact of the welfare reforms, sanctions and introduction of Universal Credit are just a few of the circumstances that are having a detrimental effect on people’s ability to cope, and in turn putting an added strain on their mental health and wellbeing.
In London alone, the number of rough sleepers with an identified mental health problem has rocketed from just over 700 in 2009/10 to more than 2,500 last year (*St Mungo’s).
Mental Health HHPA
Groundswells award winning HHPA service has been successfully working with people around accessing services to address their physical health needs.
We now also work with people to support and address the mental health issues that are present and in some cases having a detrimental effect on people’s physical health. Groundswell Peer Advocates assist people with getting support from the secondary services such as the Community Mental Health Teams, Social Services and therapy based services. We also support those clients who have been given a dual diagnosis, which can cause them to be pushed between mental health and drug and alcohol services with neither wanting to offer a service.
Mental Health HHPA is generously funded by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust and Bupa UK Foundation.