Experts in mental health and homelessness took centre stage at a conference in Manchester to share best practice and ideas on improving access for the homeless community to vital treatment.
The conference, held at the Methodist Central Buildings in Manchester, was organised by Dr Colm Gallagher a clinical psychologist working at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH).
Dr Gallagher is part of the clinical team on the Manchester Mental Health and Homelessness Operational Group and a member of GMMH’s Mental Health and Homeless Team.
He said: “This conference has been a good way of bringing knowledge about mental health and homelessness from other areas of the UK together to share.
“My hope is that the mental health professionals from within the Trust, who don’t work specifically with homelessness, will be more aware of homelessness issues and can acknowledge the barriers that prevent homeless people from accessing services.”
“For me good progress would be if homeless people had quick access to the appropriate services based on need and that services will be more dynamic in their response for homeless people and the issues they present with.”
The conference brought together experts from across the UK including those with lived experience of homelessness.
Clinicians from across the UK were joined by experts in commissioning, co-production, housing policy and people with lived experience.
Delegates heard presentations from Dr Suzanne Elliot, a clinical psychologist who has been working with the homeless community in Leicester for 13 years.
Dr Elliot shared her experiences of creating psychological informed environments in Leicester and how this approach can help homeless people access services and those helping them understand the issues they face more clearly.
Those working with the homeless community in Manchester are now looking at ways of creating psychologically informed environments within the City.
Dr Stephen Weatherhead, a consultant clinical psychologist based in Liverpool, spoke about his work to create better access to neuropsychological services for homeless people in the city.
Lee Fletcher, who volunteers as a Peer Mentor in the Booth Centre in Manchester, spoke to the conference about how experts by experience have played a central role in developing Greater Manchester’s approach to tackling homelessness.
He said: “I went to the Booth Centre to use the services because I was at the bottom of the barrel and my mental health was getting worse and worse.
“I was using a lot and I just needed some help. I heard on the grapevine you could go to the Booth Centre to get something to eat.
“When you’re working with the Booth Centre you get asked to do different things for different services and that’s how I got involved with the Homeless Charter.
“I think with mental health and homelessness there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s definitely going the right way and with everybody working together, you’ve got a lot more people with ideas to solve these issues.”
It is hoped the conference will be a springboard for experts in homelessness and mental health to form national networks, so they can continue to share best practice.
For more information about GMMH homeless outreach services please visit www.gmmh.nhs.uk or call 0161 271 0288. Review all the social action from the day on Twitter using #ManchesterHomelessMH
Presentations from the conference
Manchester Homeless Partnership: Insights from co-production
Nigel Allmark Presentation.pdf
Cause and Consequence
Update on Mental Health and Homeless Operational Group
Colm Gallagher Presentation.pdf
Leicester Homeless Mental Health Service presenting City wide PIE & Street Outreach in Leicester
Suzanne Elliott Presentation.pdf
NeuroTriage Project (presenting neuropsychological service for homeless people in Liverpool)
NeuroTriage - Ste Weatherhead.pdf
BAME - See me in all my colour film
Breaking the cycle film
Rough Sleeping Commissioning Manager presenting journey of developing PIE/trauma informed work in Westminster pathway
Victoria Aseervatham Presentation.pdf
Housing First Review - University of York
Nicholas Pleace Presentation.pdf
‘Psychologists in Hostels’ project – Lambeth
Emma Williamson Presentation.pdf