Today marks World Homelessness Day and World Mental Health Day and there are events going on to mark both around the globe.Here in Manchester we’ve been (not so) quietly working together to explore how mental health is frequently a cause and consequence of homelessness. A number of community workshops focused on what isn’t working for people in that situation – in other words, “what’s broken”. They were held with only people who have experience of homelessness and mental health combined; giving them space to talk about what they went through and explore what might work better around both prevention and more person-centred support.
The conversations quickly moved on to “how”. By being better informed, setting out to tackle stigma and inequalities and learning from people’s lived experience we can we transform systems for people in Manchester in the future.
At our last meeting we came together in a bigger group to discuss the learning from lived experience sessions. Services from across Manchester were there alongside people who’ve experience of accessing those same services. And – there was a consensus! Below you can see the visual minutes starting to take shape on the back wall…
Both service representatives and people with lived experience agreed that some of the key issues to focus on if we are to transform things for the better are:
- The system is more complicated than it needs to be,
- People feel judged,
- Peer led approaches make a real difference,
- Getting the right support can take far too long,
- All services should be trauma informed, and so alert to the causes of mental health issues,
- Emphasis on appointments doesn’t work for those in crisis, and
- Lots of transformation could be achieved by using existing resources differently – making sure people get access to the kind of support they need at the right time in the right way.
Currently, we’re consolidating the work to date and will be meeting again on Thursday 9th November to talk next steps. We’d like as many people who are interested to join us.
If you’d like to get involved, hear more about what we’ve been doing together, or are interested in the Manchester Homelessness Charter, get in touch using the contacts below:
email – Mental Health Action Group, or call Ben Whalley on 0344 515 1595
Website – Manchester Homelessness Charter