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World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10th October) has seen the launch of a crowdfunding campaign by MKTG, Posterscope and PSI, who aim to raise £30,000 through crowd-funding site Chuffed, to hire a full-time mental health professional, based at the Whitfield St Soup Kitchen.
There are approximately 1600 soup kitchens in London. Between them, they have one goal: to help the 180,000 people officially designated as homeless in our capital city (data from Shelter).
The Whitfield Soup Kitchen is one of the many organisations helping to overcome the issue of homelessness in one of the richest cities in the world.
But there’s a problem
Although the reasons for homelessness are varied, one significant contributory factor is mental illness, which many of the guests at Whitfield St suffer from, to some extent.
Being homeless adds an extra obstacle to accessing the already reduced funding for mental health services, and if left untreated, may guarantee that they remain homeless. Homelessness also reduces the likelihood of being seen by a regular, mental health professional.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
Knowing this, media agencies MKTG, Posterscope and PSI are endeavouring to create the first ‘no appointment needed’, no obligation, mental health drop-in centre, actually located inside the Soup Kitchen. Not only will the agencies hire a mental health professional (link worker) to be present at the kitchen for 2-3 days a week across a two-year period, but they will also fund the building of a small, private consultation room, to give the homeless a secure environment with someone they trust to share their issues. If successful it is hoped this will provide a model for other soup kitchens.
Advisors at Mental Health Charity Mind said:
“The support available to homeless people for mental health are sometimes complex to navigate, and people often stop engaging with the support offered. The provision of a link worker will help support people to be aware of options and where to get help with practical and social needs.”
The agencies’ aim is for a professional link worker to build dialogue, trust and relationships, with the regulars to and accelerate their path back to health.
You can donate on Chuffed here.