The link between mental health issues and homelessness was highlighted as both World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day were marked on Monday 10 October. The two were marked internationally on the same day – with the fact that the issues highlighted together being important as the links between mental health issues and homelessness are undeniable.
Some 45% of people experiencing homelessness have been diagnosed with a mental health issue. This rises to eight out of 10 people who are sleeping rough. Mental health issues can often make it difficult for a person to secure or maintain accommodation without support, and housing and financial insecurity can worsen mental health problems.
Organisations across the UK are on hand to support people if they feel that their home is at risk. People who are either homeless, or are at immediate risk of becoming homeless, are asked to contact homeless services as soon as possible. Advice and guidance on homelessness and housing can also be found via relevant national housing charities.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Around a quarter of people in England are likely to experience a mental health problem but, among the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, that number is considerably higher.
“We’re facing a cost of living crisis in this country, and when a family feels that they have to stretch their income to cover rent and food, this places considerable stress on their mental health. Worsening mental health issues and loss of income are also causing breakdowns in relationships with landlords, leaving people without a home. As a council, we are committed to working hard with our partners to support people who are homeless, who may risk losing their home, or who are otherwise suffering from mental health issues, and – on World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day – I would encourage people to seek the support they, or their loved ones, may need.”
Chief Strategy and Partnerships Officer at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Kuli Kaur-Wilson, added: “It is very apt that World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day should fall on the same date as they are sadly often interlinked.
“Homelessness, in whatever form, can be both a cause and a consequence of mental ill health. Mental health issues are linked to the adversity that homeless people face, making homeless people particularly vulnerable.
“As a Trust we are committed to tackling mental health inequalities so that our communities across the Black Country are able to lead happy and healthy lives. This World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day we want to reconfirm our commitment to breaking down barriers so that everyone, including people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, get the support they need.”