In a self-feeding cycle, people experiencing mental health problems are more susceptible to becoming homeless, and the stresses of becoming homeless are more likely to amplify poor mental health.
Helping people sleeping rough with their mental health can be complex because so many factors can feed into their trauma and everyone’s stories are different.
This week 15th – 21st May is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s theme is ‘Anxiety’.
Here at Jimmy’s, we see anxiety across all ages, and at all times of life. Supporting people with mental ill health such as anxiety forms part of the support plan that we create and involve our residents with.
Evidence tells us that the mental health of people experiencing homelessness is significantly worse than that of the general population. The relationship between homelessness and mental health is complex, where one can be both the cause and result of the other. A study from 2014 showed that 80% of people experiencing homelessness in the UK have struggled with mental health due to their housing situation and 45% reported they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Yet many people struggle to access mental health services to get the support they need – homeless or not.
A former resident added:
“Coming into Jimmy’s as a 43 year old, I felt anxiety on a few levels. Not only the mental ill health of dealing with my situation, but the anxiety of dealing with the loss of a life I had previously, now in the past, plus the anxiousness of what do I do for the future. There were days where getting out of bed was a difficult task, let alone talking to people, let alone functioning on any level, it was a darkness that covered my eyes.”
At Jimmy’s we provide different services to our residents, including 1:1 support, workshops including music therapy, yoga, days out, and sports including, golf, football, table tennis, as well as swim passes.
Support worker Ken said:
“Helping people move on and change lives is very satisfying. I enjoy doing the sports. I take people to golf, bowling, tennis, and table tennis. We’ve taken residents on trips to the seaside, Duxford Air Museum, Cambridge Botanic Gardens, Hamerton Park Zoo and many more. Just seeing the impact on people; they were so grateful. They really enjoyed it, just to have that break from day-to-day life.
“The sports and activities, such as workshops and courses organised for the residents are a good way of breaking the barriers because sometimes people don’t always tell you everything straightaway. The more we can encourage people to open up, the more we are able to give them the help they need”.
This Mental Health Week we want to raise as much awareness as possible however supporting people will poor mental health is something we do all year round. We can’t do this without the right skills and support from the amazing team at Jimmy’s.
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