Today, St Mungo’s released the second part of their investigation into mental health and rough sleeping, as part of our Stop the Scandal campaign. We wanted to find out what specialist mental health services are commissioned to help people who sleep rough. What we discovered was deeply disturbing.
Only a third of areas with 10 or more people sleeping rough have mental health services that are designed to reach them. This is simply not good enough.
We all know that rough sleeping is dangerous and ruins lives – people who sleep rough with mental health problems are 50% more likely to get stuck on the streets. Out of the clients we spoke to, many had mental problems when they found themselves on the streets, and most told us that their mental health got worse as a result of sleeping rough.
We worked with our clients to develop a set of five principles to inform how services working with people sleeping rough with a mental health problem should be commissioned and delivered.
Services must be: accessible, attentive, understanding, caring and persistent.
This afternoon, they’ll be sharing the findings of our report at a Parliamentary event with Ministers from the Department of Health and Communities and Local Government, calling on them to ensure that mental health services that embody these principles are commissioned as a matter of urgency.
Not only that, but our clients will also be asking to meet with Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, to discuss their first-hand experiences of sleeping rough.
In the meantime, read St Mungo’s report: Stop The Scandal – The case for action on mental health and rough sleeping