Mental health support making a difference to people sleeping rough and homeless

A team of Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) staff are working with local authorities, housing associations and voluntary and community organisations in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to offer mental health support to those for whom a roof over their heads is far from guaranteed.

Mental Health Nurses Mike Cooper and Jade Clarke are in the process of being joined by another nurse and two healthcare support workers to bolster MPFT’s mental health provision within the rough sleeper taskforce, led by Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council.

They provide rapid mental health support for people aged 18+ who are homeless, sleeping rough or in volatile tenancies. Should a partner agency have a concern about an individual’s mental health, Mike and Jade will make contact, provide an assessment, guidance and support and liaise with fellow MPFT mental health services and partners as required.

Jade said: “We’re an outreach team for those in society who feel they are looked at as lesser people. Sleeping rough can have a significant impact on someone's mental and physical health and the longer it goes on the more severe and complex those needs can become.”

Mike said: “We see a large number of adults who find themselves homeless, or sleeping rough often as a result of very distressing circumstances, such as abuse or modern slavery. We go where we need to in order to provide that support; for instance I’ve carried out assessments in people’s cars and on park benches.”

As a result of making contact and supporting people as early as possible, they have been able to help dozens of individuals from needing to access secondary healthcare services, and reduced the likelihood of a hospital admission.

Jade added: “Through the partnership element of the service, we’ve been able to make a real difference, and the fact the team is increasing is a testament to the important role mental health support plays in supporting people who are sleeping rough or homeless.”

Mike and Jade are pictured at the Shrewsbury Ark, a charity providing support and day centre facilities for the homeless and vulnerable.

Page last updated 6 September 2023