Health and Mental health at Hope
People affected by homelessness and poverty suffer disproportionately from poor physical and mental ill-health.
Hope works very hard to address health inequalities and lack of access to healthcare. We contribute to public health targets related to our service users:
We invite public health partners in to do comprehensive screening for health issues in our settings; across the county, more people in need are seen at Hope than in any other organisation involved.
We work with providers to offer free podiatry and free glasses to our service users
Sexual Health services attend once a month to offer screening and referral
We refer to GPs and fix people up with GPs
- We address hunger and diet through our food aid project, the Hope Foodclub, and our day centre
- We are trying to organise free dentistry
- We can offer smoking cessation and support vaping access and research
- We reduce alcohol and drug dependency or overuse
There is finally widespread awareness of the scale of mental health problems in our society, and that they affect everyone, from royalty to the homeless. At Hope, we have always recognised how great these problems are and provide a range of services to address these issues, for staff, volunteers and people who use our service.
People who are homeless or affected by housing issues often experience intense stress, depression and anxiety concerning their situation. This is understandable as the issues people face related to housing are amongst the most stressful to anyone. Having no home, or the threat of losing one, would affect anyone.
Once people have become homeless, these problems sometimes spiral and get worse, creating a very difficult path out, especially given the reduction in specialist services. For a small group, mental health problems were the cause of their homelessness crisis. For others, compound other problems of addiction make getting treatment for mental health problems evern more challenging.
These issues can also apply to people in long term unemployment and poverty. Living week in, week out, with worry over money, having no money for relaxation, of having to work 2 or 3 rubbish jobs just to survive, takes its toll on mental health.
Hope works to address and manage the problems people face. We provide, of course, services and products that help mitigate the worry over money for food and clothes. We help sort people’s benefits and refer them to specialist welfare rights advice if we can’t sort it out ourselves. But as well as reducing the worry, we help people therapeutically.
Therapy for mental health at Hope
Hope offers support through our casework to people with mental health problems, helping signpost and get care from highly specialist services, including emergency of crisis care. We act as advocates and we are persistent to ensure people get the right support. We work closely with specialist mental health services. Our staff are trained and experienced an we use assessment and diagnostic tools chosen by external mental health specialists as appropriate.
In our day centre we run a weekly CBT group, run on self-help, which offers therapy for people experiencing mental health problems. Our women’s group covers issues of mental health frequently.
Our casework, and the activities Hope provides, offers support to people to overcome their mental health, and to do things that directly and indirectly address mental health issues. For example our creative writing, arts, meditation and physical activities all do this. Our specialist, qualified art therapy addresses mental health issues directly.
Our social enterprises offer safe, welcoming, therapeutic work or training experiences and volunteering environments, where people can occupy their time, take their mind off things, and do activities that improve self esteem, self-confidence and reduce stress. Some, like our tool repair workshop, offer a brilliant way to unwind, be creative, feel supported, and fill your time. Some are explicitly designed to address mental health issues, like our therapeutic horticulture. Read about the opportunities in therapeutic horticulture available at Hope here.
Read about the value of horticulture for mental health here
People don’t have to have been homeless to access these support programmes. They are sited separately from our day centre. Anyone can get involved, either as individuals or groups.
To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01604214300
Hope takes the mental health of our staff very seriously too. We have been active in training all line managers in managing mental health problems amongst their teams, and appointing a peer support worker within the staff team who can offer advice and signpost people. We have made good use of services like IAPT to help people return to work after periods of mental ill-health.