80% of people who died sleeping rough in London in 2017 had a mental health problem according to a new research released yesterday by the homeless charity St Mungo’s.
The findings of the research suggest that this percentage has risen dramatically since 2010 were the percentage of mentally ill people dying in the streets was 29%.
The harsh reality as described by the homeless charity is that people sleeping rough with a mental health problem tend to live on the streets for longer. Many are stuck in a vicious cycle where their poor mental health is an obstacle to engaging with services that can help them move off the street, while at the same time their homelessness acts as a barrier to getting that mental health support which is desperately needed.
St Mungo’s believes that investing in specialist mental health services, the government can provide an effective solution to rough sleepers and especially those people who might otherwise be neglected or passed around multiple services without getting the support or treatment they need.
The homeless charity explains that such services were established back in 1990s as part of the Homeless and Mentally Ill Initiative (HMII), run by the Department of Health but have since been subject to major budget cuts or been lost entirely.
Director of St Mungo’s rough sleeping services Petra Salva, said:
“This is a scandal and something the government needs to recognise and do more about … there should be more funds and support for these groups but instead they have been cut over the years and that correlates in these people stuck living on the streets … these deaths are preventable,”
“The rise is because rough sleepers with mental health support needs end up sleeping rough and the help isn’t there and when it is there it is not quick enough … access to help and support is getting harder and so the prevalence of death … is increasing.”
Read more: https://www.mungos.org/publication/dying/