Thames Reach has reiterated the need to address the serious
problem of mental health issues among people sleeping rough in London.
Last year, statistics showed that 47% of those sleeping
rough in the capital had a mental health support need, while figures for the
first quarter of 2016 show a 9% rise in people on the streets with poor mental
This reiteration comes following BBC national news coverage
of Thames Reach’s work in Tower Hamlets, where, with the support of the local
council, Fatima Taylor, an approved mental health professional, is operating alongside outreach
teams to ensure vulnerable people get the treatment and support they need.
Bill Tidnam, director of operations at Thames Reach,
commented on the scale of the problem surrounding mental health among those
sleeping rough: “At least 500 people sleeping rough long-term are struggling
with severe and enduring mental health problems and aren’t getting proper access
to appropriate services."
Mental health services haven’t regularly operated on the
streets, instead working from their own offices and clinics, meaning people
sleeping rough haven’t been able to receive direct support for mental health
problems, some of which remain undetected or undiagnosed.
is hoped that the BBC’s coverage of Thames Reach’s ongoing work in Tower
Hamlets can help highlight and address the issue of how people on the streets get
access to appropriate mental health support.
on the streets is dangerous and unhealthy,” added Bill Tidnam. “If most of us
had a friend or relation suffering from significant mental health problems, we
would do what we could to get them help. Many people who are sleeping rough
don’t have this, and this can mean that they are left without the help that
they need, and stay homeless.
“More local mental health
services need to reach out and work on the streets to offer assessments and aid
full access to ongoing mental health support.”
You can view the BBC's coverage of Thames Reach's ongoing work in Tower Hamlets here.