New NHS Confederation briefing on homelessness and mental health


This new briefing from the NHS Confederation sets out the policy context around tackling homelessness and addressing the mental health needs of homeless people.

It also examines what considerations need to be made when planning, designing and delivering mental health services for homeless people and highlights examples of good practice.

Around 70% of people accessing homelessness services have a mental health problem. Homelessness charity St Mungo’s estimate that 64% of their clients have drug and/or alcohol problems.

Although the causes of homelessness are complex, mental ill health is a major contributing factor. Becoming homeless can worsen existing conditions or cause a mental health problem to occur.

Key points from the briefing include:

  • There is a strong link between homelessness and poor mental health, with high rates of mental health problems and substance misuse among the homeless population
  • The Government’s mental health strategy identifies addressing the mental health needs of homeless people as a priority for action
  • Access to mental health services for homeless people can be improved through improving staff awareness and delivering services differently, including use of non-clinical settings, plus through effective joint working with partner agencies.


Mental health and homelessness: planning and delivering mental health services for homeless people (PDF). NHS Confederation, 18 April 2012.

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André Tomlin

André Tomlin
André started the Mental Elf website in May 2011. He has worked as an Information Scientist in Mental Health since the late nineties; initially at Oxford University's Centre for Evidence-Based Mental Health and since 2002 as the Managing Director of Minervation Ltd. He loves blogging, tweeting and elfing! He also has established interests in evidence-based healthcare, usability testing, social media, coproduction and mHealth.

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