Homeless man sleeping on bench

NHS rolls out £3.2m investment to improve mental health support for homeless people

The health service is expanding the provision of mental health support to homeless people, NHS England has announced.

The existing services are already helping around 100 people a week with 14 new outreach teams set to be deployed from Westminster to Sheffield.

The additional services take the overall total to 37 mental health support outreach teams, almost double the goal of 20 by 2023/24 that was set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Fresh investment worth £3.2m will be used to scale up the services into:

  • Brent
  • Westminster and Camden
  • Somerset
  • Devon
  • Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Surrey Heartlands
  • Peterborough
  • Great Yarmouth
  • Hereford and Worcestershire
  • Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin
  • East Riding
  • Sheffield and Doncaster
  • Greater Manchester

England is said to have more than 3,000 rough sleepers on average, according to government estimations.

Things like depression, anxiety and panic disorder are all over twice as prevalent among homeless people, with psychosis up to 15 times as common.

Research indicates that those experiencing mental health issues are approximately 50% more likely to have spent more than a year homeless, according to NHS England.

“NHS teams working with local authorities will seek out rough sleepers who have often been through incredibly traumatic experiences to ensure they get the help they need – and do not fall through the cracks,” said NHS England’s national clinical mental health director, Professor Tim Kendall.

While the health service can’t fix homelessness on its own, it is making accessing services as easy as possible with those services catering specifically for patient needs, added Prof Kendall.

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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