The Health team consists of a Team Leader, three mental health workers and two substance misuse workers, who engage with an incredibly diverse client group with a wide variety of complex needs. We also have an NHS medical service offering Primary Health Care.
The team aims to provide specialist therapeutic skills, and to be a bridge back into the broader community where appropriate. Good listening is fundamental.
It is common knowledge that rough sleeping will cause physical and mental health problems. But it is less well appreciated that homeless people will also suffer a broad range of illnesses. They too suffer heart attacks, lung disease, skin disorders, foot problems, neurological illness, rheumatism and arthritis, broken limbs, ulcerated legs, early onset dementia, learning disability and also dental problems. However, their illnesses are more complex. All are exacerbated by having nowhere to sleep. Prolonged use of drugs and/or alcohol slowly destroys veins, liver, oesophagus and may cause organic brain disease or Hepatitis C. Unlike the rest of us, those who are homeless usually avoid seeking medical help and are often unwelcome in a doctor’s surgery. This is part of the downward spiral of physical and emotional despair that homeless people can fall into.
- Primary health care
- Mental health
- Substance misuse
- Complementary therapies
Numbers seen by the health team last year
- 631 Individual clients seen
- 429 New clients
- 57 Referrals to statutory Mental Health Services
- 275 Individual clients seen
- 230 new clients
Homeless people do not prioritise their health because of low self esteem and self worth. Life on the steet, or in insecure housing, can make them prone to infections which go untreated due to lack f accessible health care. This can be exacerbated by poor mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, poor nutition and general self-care.
The health team is made up of a team leader, three full time mental health workers and two full time substance misuse workers.