At Your Place, we provide extensive support for up to 140 residents with experience of homelessness at a time. This week, Elif (Mental Health Specialist) shares how important secure accommodation is to manage your wellbeing.
We have seen so many individuals who come through our doors lost in a healthcare system that they struggle to navigate. As part of our supportive package, we help residents get back on track with their health and wellbeing. This is crucial, as homelessness naturally closes the door to basic healthcare and tending to your own health needs.
The biggest barrier is that when you are faced with homelessness and have no fixed address to your name, healthcare often ceases. This has been the case for many of our residents including Russell*, who moved into Your Place earlier this year. Facing homelessness and rough sleeping severely impacted Russell’s health and made it difficult for him to access his GP effectively. Russell had suffered from a recent emotional breakdown and was trying his best to stay in services for his mental health. Due to having no fixed address, and subsequently being placed in emergency accommodation outside his home borough of Newham, this put a further delay to accessing crucial treatment for his mental health.
After moving into Your Place, Russell worked closely with me as his keyworker to arrange a mental health assessment with a Consultant Psychiatrist to review his mental state as well as his medication. Following this assessment, it was identified that Russell would benefit from alternative medication for his mental health, and he has also been considered for longer term psychological therapy. More importantly, Russell was able to finally get a diagnosis of his mental health condition, which helped him understand himself more, and also open doors for the right type of treatment.
With access to a place he can call home, Russell can now manage his physical health conditions, which will help to reduce the risk of any complications during the pandemic. Russell also has access to counselling sessions at Your Place, where he is able to address his emotional difficulties in a safe space, and is on the waiting list for NHS Psychotherapy. Seeing how much he has progressed during his time at Your Place has given Russell a new sense of hope, a total transformation from where he was a few months ago.
This is just one example of how having stable accommodation sets people up for the better. Prior to the pandemic, we already had in place an extensive health and wellbeing package for residents, particularly our more recently developed Peer Led Recovery Sessions. In these sessions, residents are able to learn more about health and wellbeing and can empower one another to take ownership of their recovery. By learning how to manage their health and wellbeing in the supported environment of Caritas Anchor House, we aim to provide that hope that residents can do this independently in future. Good support and a stable place to call home are fundamental for living well.
*Resident name changed to protect their identity.