Extra support on offer for Hartlepool's rough sleepers
Rough sleepers in Hartlepool who have mental health needs are to receive additional expert support.
The Hartlepool rough sleepers action group, which is led by Hartlepool Borough Council, has been expanded to include mental health staff from local mental health and learning disabilities services provider Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEVW).
Established support workers now work with mental health experts from TEWV to help rough sleepers get the care and treatment they need – help they often find hard to get if they do not have an address or are registered with a GP.
Hayley Todd, TEWV locality manager for adult services in Hartlepool, said “Like anyone, rough sleepers can experience mental ill health including anxiety, depression and psychosis but they often do not access services in the usual way and therefore do not get the help they need in the right place at the right time.
“By being part of the action group, we are finding ways to bring mental health support to rough sleepers. Working with their established support workers, we go out and talk to men and women on the streets to see what help they need and what help they want.”
She added: “People end up rough sleeping for many reasons and may have existing mental health conditions that previously were being treated by medication but, out on the streets, they do not have access to repeat prescriptions and their condition therefore can worsen. We are able to help them get the medication they need and help them register with a GP.”
“It is just the right thing to do – we heard that people were struggling and we have the skills to support them so we needed to match the two up and find ways to help.”
Penny Thompson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s head of housing, hardship and welfare services, said: “The council welcomes the support from TEWV and their recognition of the mental health needs of rough sleepers.
"This strengthens our practical support to rough sleepers, enabling them access the health care they need.”