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For Michael the death of his dad, grandad and new-born son in the space of three months when he was only 18 was “a hell of a lot to take in”. These traumatic events affected his mental health and led to him becoming homeless.
During this Mental Health Awareness Week we spotlight the close link between mental health and homelessness.
Mental health issues make it harder for people to maintain stable housing, employment and relationships. As in Michael’s case, untreated mental health issues increase the risk of homelessness. The stress, trauma, and instability of not having a secure place to live are likely to increase mental health struggles even more.
The increasing seriousness of the problem is revealed by Homeless Link: 82% of homeless people have a mental health issue – a proportion that has nearly doubled since 2014.
You can watch Michael’s story here:
Solutions for individual needs
Everyone’s needs are different. So helping people address their mental health issues calls for a variety of approaches.
For example, addressing the trauma and isolation often linked to mental health issues can be a priority. Framework’s Corner House accommodation service in Lincoln works with the local NHS’s Holistic Help for the Homeless service. This gives people, including many rough sleepers, access to health and social care.
However the first delicate step is to help people to trust a system that may have repeatedly let them down and to accept the support being offered.
Sometimes creativity and self-expression can be the key to self-acceptance and positive self-esteem. This is the approach at Hughendon Lodge – our specialist accommodation for people with long term needs in Nottingham.
For very many people connecting with the natural world has positive effects on mental health. Framework’s Nature in Mind service, which has recently received new funding from The Heritage Fund , enables people to enjoy these benefits in many different ways.
Michael enjoying nature
Sometimes people are concerned about their mental health but don’t know where to turn for advice and support. This is where services like Nottingham’s Wellness in Mind come in.
However when people have a mental health crisis and need immediate support the Nottinghamshire-wide Crisis Sanctuaries service is there to help.
Finally, people looking for support in their recovery from a mental health crisis need services like the Sheffield Mental Health Independence and Support Service to play their part.