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This festive season, we’re joining with Simon On The Streets on Saturday 9th December at Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre. We’re raising awareness and vital funds for both charities, and we can’t wait to see you there!

At a time of year where many families are spending time together in the warmth of home, we’re shining a light on the link between mental health and homelessness and asking the people of Leeds to dig deep for two charities whose respective aims are to provide a lifeline for those with mental health difficulties or who are sleeping rough.

Let’s take a look at why we’re well-placed to fundraise side-by-side.

The link between homelessness and mental health

Homelessness and mental health are inextricably linked. Mental health difficulties can be a contributing cause of homelessness, and becoming homeless can bring on or intensify existing mental health conditions. To talk about one, is almost certainly to talk about the other.

Here are just some statistics related to this issue:

  • 8 out of 10 people sleeping rough have a diagnosed mental health difficulty
  • homeless people are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population
  • 26% of homeless people cite mental health problems as a reason for being homeless

Access to healthcare support for those facing homelessness

Those living with homelessness often face a great number of barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare, whether in relation to their physical or mental health. Lack of access to GPs mean people experiencing homelessness will disproportionately have to resort to visiting A&E departments to get appropriate help. Unfortunately, this is usually because they’ve reached crisis point.

While people may well receive short term support, this won’t pave the way for long-term, sustainable change, or guarantee referrals to other services that are tailored to their needs.

In June 2023, it was announced that the NHS will be expanding the number of clinics available for homeless communities. Their existing clinics have already brought in a number of doctors, nurses and support workers to signpost people to appropriate charities and other services following their treatment.

There’s still a long way to go when it comes to these services being as widespread across the country. However, it’s encouraging to see decision makers at least recognising that people facing homelessness need consistent access to free, uncomplicated support in order to break the cycles they find themselves in, for good.

That’s why we’re teaming up with Simon on the Streets for an afternoon of festive fun and raising awareness at Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds city centre. Come along and say ‘hello’ to festive characters, spin the wheel and speak to our friendly staff.

We’re very much looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible on Saturday 9th December, so please spread the word! In the meantime, there are also plenty of other ways to get involved with both Leeds Mind and Simon on the Streets. Why not take a look and be part of making a difference this Christmas?

Simon On The Streets

Simon On The Streets is an independent charity that supports those facing homelessness in all its forms. Their outreach team is always out there, working across Leeds and Bradford to offer unlimited emotional and practical support to those who need it. With a focus on the long-term, Simon on the Streets looks beyond putting a roof over someone’s head. The work they do supports those experiencing homelessness to take control of their future, and make positive sustainable changes to their lives.