Increased investment in specialist mental health support as part of new NHS funding will benefit rough sleepers in Lincoln.
As one of seven parts of the country receiving funding, Lincoln will be receiving around £300,000 to employ dedicated mental health professionals, who also have experience of substance misuse care.
The team will work alongside existing rough sleeper projects in the city, offering homeless people advice and treatment to tackle mental ill health and support with any substance misuse and physical health care needs.
It is estimated that more than half of those sleeping on the streets lives with a mental health problem, while those affected by homelessness die, on average, around 30 years earlier than the general population.
The team will bring together doctors, nurses and other clinicians to co-ordinate treatment and support existing rough sleeper projects provided by organisations such as Public Health funded P3 and City of Lincoln Council.
The team will form part of co-ordinated efforts to ensure that rough sleepers have better access to mental health support – joining up care with existing outreach, accommodation, drug and alcohol and physical healthcare services.
Outreach teams will identify rough sleepers in need of help, and the specialist mental health team will then support them to access appropriate care for both their mental and physical health needs. Initially visiting people on the streets, or at an appropriate community venue, until the person feels able to access mainstream health services.
Chris Higgins, Director of Operations at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news for the city and will further support our partnership working to support Lincoln’s homeless community.
“They can often be reluctant to access help from statutory organisations, so by using trusted relationships already in place through the outreach teams, our mental health specialists can visit people on the streets, rather than expecting the person to access services at a particular time and location.”
The new team is currently being recruited and will be in place from the New Year to support Lincoln’s rough sleepers. It is hoped that if successful, the approach could be rolled out to other areas of the county.