Homelessness and mental health often go hand in hand. Poor housing or homelessness can increase the chances of developing a mental health problem, or exacerbate an existing condition.
In turn, this can make it even harder for that person to recover – to develop good mental health, to secure stable housing, to find and maintain a job, to stay physically healthy and to maintain relationships.
It is a fundamental fact that single homeless people are much more likely to have mental health problems compared to the general population.
In 2015, 32% of single homeless people reported a mental health problem, and depression rates, for example, are over 10 times higher in the homeless population and a third get so low they attempt suicide.
Safe accommodation brings stability and security; provides a gateway to access health services like GPs; enhances social and community inclusion; and provides the basis for the right to private and family life. Put simply, a home is vital for good mental and physical health, allowing people to live in safety, security, peace and dignity.
New Forest Nightstop, a service provided by Community First New Forest, offers vulnerable, homeless people free, short term emergency accommodation in the homes of approved volunteers throughout the New Forest district.
Often people coming to stay in our service are emotionally exhausted and mentally worn down by even a brief experience of homelessness whether that be staying around on peoples sofa’s or rough sleeping yet a few nights or more with Nightstop gives our guests a real chance to catch their breath and get support and connection to ongoing help.
Nightstop improves not only people’s self-esteem but also their life chances, and their outcomes for employment, training, health and housing are much improved bringing potential economic stability to the community.
There re lots of reasons Nightstop helped me. Nightstop made me feel safe, gave me time to reflect on the last few months to pinpoint the wrongs and gave me the confidence to make them put them right. My hosts gave me all the time in the world if I needed to talk.
They supported me in everything I did. Nightstop made me realise that when you are at the lowest of the low you can only go up! It wasn’t just a bed for the night it saved my life. Nightstop has made me feel so lucky!! I would like to say a huge thank you !! (female aged 19, 15 nights)
For further information about New Forest Nightstop please visit newforestnightstop.org.uk