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Bristol Homelessness Awareness Week

18 February 2017

Bristol Homelessness Awareness Week (February 18-25) aims to highlight the problems of homelessness, people at risk of becoming homeless and the difficulties faced by rough sleepers.

Here at Changes, we feel it's important to take note of the link between homelessness and mental health. Did you know that 40% of rough sleepers have some kind of mental health problem? Last year St Mungos published a report Stop the Scandal which found that people sleeping rough with a mental health problem are around 50% more likely to have spent over a year sleeping rough than those without a mental health problem.

Living on the streets can make it harder to access mental health services. For some people they find that they are unable to attend services because they have complex problems that involve drug or alcohol misuse. Many homeless people are not able to register with a GP and so they are unable to be referred to appropriate secondary services. They may also find it difficult to make and attend appointments on time and even if some people do find they are treated in an appropriate inpatient facility, they may find that they are discharged without a suitable home to go to.

At Changes we offer support to anyone who feels they would benefit from a safe place to talk as long as they can communicate appropriately. We don't ask people for an assessment or a referral, there's no requirement to give us a permanent address (although it's helpful to have some way of getting in contact with you if possible) and our meetings are free, non-judgmental and confidential. We have groups every weekday and we don't ask for any commitment so it's no problem if you miss a meeting or you can't attend the same group regularly.

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless you can find helpful information here.