I just asked our Prime Minister and his government to Stop the Scandal of people with mental ill-health being stuck sleeping rough at www.mungos.org/stopthescandal
Not only is rough sleeping on the rise in the UK, but 4 in 10 people sleeping rough have a mental health problem, often with no support and no way home.
Worse still, St Mungo’s research shows that some people end up sleeping rough soon after being discharged from mental health hospitals and people with mental health problems are 50 per cent more likely to end up sleeping rough for more than a year, a dangerous situation that ruins lives.
It’s not right that anyone has to sleep rough on our streets – and it’s nothing short of a scandal that people with mental health problems are being let down when they need help the most.
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA
Dear Prime Minister
Will you stop the scandal of people with mental health problems left sleeping rough?
It’s not right that anyone should be without a home, and it’s nothing short of a national scandal that people with mental health problems are stuck sleeping rough.
We urge you to stop this scandal by leading a new, ambitious national rough sleeping strategy to deliver:
- mental health assessments and professional support to people on the street
- specialist supported housing to aid recovery
- the right support upon discharge so people don’t end up sleeping rough after leaving mental health hospitals, and
- improvements to homelessness legislation to prevent more rough sleeping.
Government statistics continue to show an alarming rise in rough sleeping in England, and new research from homelessness charity St Mungo’s reveals that 4 in 10 people who sleep rough have a mental health problem, rising to over half of rough sleepers from the UK.
The research also exposes how quickly someone’s mental health can deteriorate when they are sleeping on the street. What’s more, people with a mental health problem are around 50 per cent more likely to have spent over a year on the streets than others sleeping rough.
We believe this requires urgent attention from across government and the NHS. With the right support and routes off the street, people can look after their mental health and rebuild their lives.
Better still, the right mental health services can prevent people from sleeping rough in the first place. But right now, only 26 per cent of homelessness outreach workers say people sleeping rough are able to access the mental health services they need.
Rough sleeping is dangerous and ruins lives. People with mental health problems are particularly at risk. Please ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not forgotten about.