The All party Task and Finish group investing the link between Mental Health and homelessness has reported its findings to the Milton Keynes Council Cabinet.
The Labour Cabinet welcomed the report and its 7 key recommendations and agreed to support the recommendations and to monitor the implementation of them.
The All party group met over a 3 month period starting in May 2017 and took evidence from a range of experts and from community organisations and people with mental health challenges. The 7 recommendations were:
- That a Homelessness Health Needs Audit be carried out with the aim of ensuring there is enough outreach services, crisis intervention and pathways on discharge from hospital or prison.
- Introduce a ‘Right to Healthcare card system that will help homeless people register with GPs. The NHS also needs to appoint a lead GP for Homelessness to work with the Council.
- That Mental health support services should be available to homeless people with such needs.
- The homelessness prevention work should help people to find suitable housing with support.
- That the NHS should provide a properly funded outreach service to deal with people in crisis.
- NHS, Council and voluntary sector staff working with the homeless should be trained in ‘Mental Health First Aid Training.’
- Ensure that the discharge of people with mental health challenges from hospital is properly considered following the hospital decision by the Hospital to end the ‘Connection Support’ service.
Cllr Paul Williams
Labour Cllr Paul Williams who chaired the investigation said, “There is a very clear link between street homelessness or rough sleeping and mental health challenges. Our investigation took a lot of evidence of the problem and the recommendations were endorsed by both the Housing Committee and now Cabinet offer a positive and practical way to address the needs of rough sleepers with Mental Health challenges.”
Cllr Nigel Long
Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Housing, Cllr Nigel Long added, “Cabinet welcomed this report on the link between rough sleeping and Mental Health. We are committed to addressing the needs of rough sleepers and the recommendations in the report are very much part of the solution. What we learn is that tackling Mental Health is more than just finding people housing. It is about building trust then developing support and help to tackle the root cause of people’s problems. It is a really good report and Cabinet will report back on the implementation of the report’s recommendations.”
Cllr Paul Williams concluded, “The recommendations require action from the NHS, from voluntary sector partners and from the Council. I look forward to progress being made and reviewed by Cabinet.”