Mental health issues combined with homelessness can have a major impact on individuals, families and communities.
While for many, homelessness may still seem like something abstract, the truth is, it can happen to anyone. People end up homeless (having no permanent home or address) after running out of all other options, while some may sleep on the street, in disused buildings, or in shelters, others might also be sofa surfing relying on the kindness of friends.
Mental health problems can make it difficult to cope with housing issues, in fact, in many cases, homeless people cite mental health problems as a reason for being homeless.
The stressors of financial instability and housing insecurity can intensify mental health problems, which is why there is a high rate of mental health difficulties amongst homeless people.
It is hard to know exactly how many homeless people suffer from poor mental health in the UK every year. A few audits over the years have reported around 30-50% people being diagnosed with mental health problems.
In 2014, 80% of homeless people in England reported that they had mental health issues, with 45% having been diagnosed with a mental health condition. (1)
Many organisations quote the following statistics about homelessness and mental health, though we believe the real situation to be much worse due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
45% of homeless people have been diagnosed mental health problem, compared with 25% in the general population.
Local Government Association, September 2017 (2)
The combination of mental wellbeing problems and housing issues can often lead to other issues such as substance misuse, which can result in a vicious cycle.
The challenges that those that have found themselves homeless face are endless.
Unfortunately, mental health services are hard to access if you are homeless.
For homeless people, receiving help from a doctor is unfortunately made a lot more difficult due to the fact of having no fixed address to register at a practice.
Therefore, we need to work together to support people out of homelessness for good.
Your support allows us at Homeless Oxfordshire to guide homeless people along a journey towards fulfilling futures.
You help support those who have found themselves homeless in Oxfordshire to receive quality healthcare to improve their wellbeing, whether registered with a doctor or not. At Homeless Oxfordshire, we provide health and wellbeing support via the Luther Street Medical Centre. But we do so much more…
Your donations can provide someone with a safe space and access to high-quality one-to-one support.
We are here to break the cycle of homelessness.
Our vision is to make homelessness a thing of the past.
You can continue to help us in our mission by donating today using this link: https://homelessoxfordshire.uk/support-us/donate/
(1) Mental Health Foundation (2016), Homelessness: Statistics. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/statistics/homelessness-statistics (Accessed: 19/07/2022)
(2) Local Government Association (2017), The impact of homelessness on health. Available at: https://bit.ly/3Pl6ZRG (Accessed: 19/07/2022)