In 2018 EASL was awarded a grant by the GLA to provide mental health support to rough sleepers across London. This initial grant was for a year but has been extended for a further year.
This project aims to benefit rough sleepers in Greater London, through working with outreach and other teams to support access to appropriate mental health services. This benefits a cohort of people who have multiple and complex needs, who previously had no access to specialist mental health provision and for whom there are barriers in their access to mainstream NHS mental health assessment services.
Evidence from services and research show that there are high levels of mental health needs in the rough sleeping population, including conditions where a statutory mental health intervention and ongoing support is clearly indicated, and needs rooted in complex trauma, where an individual homeless person may be best supported through services being more “psychologically informed”.
This funding provides for 2 full time Mental Health professionals, who work with outreach teams and other relevant bodies providing assessment, advice and liaison support.
The priority is to increase the offer of assessments to individuals who sleep rough who would not otherwise be able to access input from mental health professionals. As such, the project will work in partnership with whichever local agency is best placed to lead. The allocation of resources within this project both complements and supports the development of a separate initiative, which is designed to enhance mental health provision in a small number of London boroughs, which is currently being launched.
By providing needs-led assessment, the project will support access to appropriate services, and will facilitate liaison with statutory and non-statutory services across borough boundaries.
By working across borough boundaries, the client group will have their needs more effectively met, understood and responded to. This is imperative to helping improve the wellbeing of people sleeping rough in London and enabling homelessness services to support people to leave the streets.