10 Oct 2019
To mark both World Mental Health Day and World Homelessness Day, the Mayor of London has announced a new scheme to help rough sleepers with mental health needs.
Dedicated teams of mental health practitioners from NHS Mental Health Trusts (including West London NHS Trust) will join outreach workers on the streets from organisations such as St Mungo’s, Thames Reach and Single Homeless Project (SHP). The teams could also include specialist input from a psychologist, psychiatrist or peer support worker. They will provide people sleeping rough with flexible, accessible mental health support, which better understands their needs and ensures they receive the appropriate assessment and treatment.
West London NHS Trust’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Regan, who is also the designated ‘senior responsible officer’ for this scheme, says: “No one should have to live on the streets. As many as 80 percent of homeless people in England are reported to have mental health issues with almost half (45 percent) having been given a mental health diagnosis. These figures highlight the importance of the work we’ll be doing, with our partners, to ensure rough sleepers are given the right support.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “We will continue to do everything we can to help rough sleepers off the streets of London, including doubling City Hall’s outreach team and opening new shelters. To go further, we are announcing today a new pilot to ensure dedicated mental health professionals can provide specialist support to people on the streets who need it the most.”
Stay tuned for further updates around this programme in the coming months.
To learn more about the link between mental health and homelessness, click here.