At least 271,000 people are recorded as homeless in England, including 122,000 children.
In Europe, young people aged 18-29 represent 20-30% of the homeless population – that is equivalent to as many as 3 in 10 persons under the age of 29 being homeless! Young people who experience homelessness are more likely to experience mental health problems than those who have stable accommodation. More than 1 in 3 (35%) homeless young adults, ages 18-25, reported having a mental health problem.
This is why we need to raise awareness for the mental health of homeless young people in the UK. Everyone has the right to good mental health, regardless of their background or personal circumstances.
Shawmind will be represented by Peter Wingrove (our CEO) at The Big Newark Sleepout 2023 on March 10th to raise money and awareness for improving mental health amongst homeless young people. Funds raised will be used to provide mental health training and support.
The link between homelessness and mental health
Homelessness can have a severe impact on young people’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and trauma.
Living on the streets or in temporary accommodations can cause constant stress, leading to psychological distress. Mental health problems can also arise from the trauma and abuse that many young people face before and during homelessness.
Common mental health problems that can arise during homelessness are:
- Trauma: Young people who experience homelessness are often exposed to trauma, including physical and sexual abuse, violence, and neglect. 94% percent of homeless youth have been physically victimised and 39% have been sexually victimised. This can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems.
- Social isolation: Homelessness can be an incredibly isolating experience, particularly for young people who may feel disconnected from their peers and support networks. This isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
- Substance use: Young people who are homeless are more likely to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Over 75% of homeless youth have used drugs or alcohol. Substance use can contribute to or worsen mental health problems.
- Stigma and discrimination: Homelessness is often stigmatised, and young people who are homeless may experience discrimination and prejudice. This can lead to low self-esteem, shame, and other mental health problems.
Why should we support young people’s mental health?
- Mental Health is a Human Right: Everyone has the right to good mental health, regardless of their background or personal circumstances.
- Prevention is Key: Investing in early intervention and support for young people’s mental health can prevent more severe and long-term mental health problems in the future.
- Social and Economic Benefits: Supporting young people’s mental health can lead to significant social and economic benefits, including reduced homelessness rates, improved employment outcomes, and lower healthcare costs.
- Breaking the Cycle: Supporting young people’s mental health can help break the cycle of homelessness and improve their chances of building a stable and fulfilling life.
How can we support young people’s mental health?
- Increase Access to Mental Health Services: More mental health services need to be available to young people experiencing homelessness, including outreach teams, counselling, and psychological support.
- Supportive Housing: Providing young people with safe, stable, and supportive housing can improve their mental health outcomes and help them to move forward with their lives.
- Trauma-informed care: Healthcare and support services need to be trauma-informed, recognizing the complex trauma that many young people have experienced.
- Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the link between homelessness and mental health is crucial in reducing stigma and encouraging more support for young people.
- Advocacy and Policy Change: Advocacy and policy change are essential in addressing the root causes of homelessness and mental health problems among young people.
Do you want to improve young people’s mental health?
Join our CEO’s campaign at Big Newark Sleepout on March 10th to raise money and awareness for homeless young people in the UK.
Donate to Shawmind to improve the mental health of young people in the UK through mental health early intervention and education.
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