To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Launchpad is raising awareness of the links between mental health and homelessness by revealing 68% of the charity’s clients have a diagnosed mental health condition – almost three times more than the number of adults from the general population who experience a diagnosable mental health problem in any given year (25%).

Of those surveyed by Launchpad in October 2018, over 60% of clients who reported having a mental health condition received medication, a third (31%) have been referred for treatment beyond GP level, and anxiety and/or depression is by far the most common condition (88%).

Launchpad is Reading’s leading homelessness prevention charity, providing vital information and support for individuals, couples and families who don’t have a stable place to live or are at risk of losing their home. The charity’s holistic service aims to break the cycle of homelessness by providing temporary homes with bespoke support for up to 100 people in Reading and rebuilding lives to give clients the very best chance of success with a range of therapeutic activities, and support with education, training and employment.

Ian Caren, Chief Executive of Launchpad, said:

“Our latest research demonstrates that mental health conditions among those who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Reading are a very real problem. Over three-quarters of our clients have conditions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis, PTSD and personality disorder – which, compared with the national average mental health statistics, is particularly concerning.

“Poor mental health can be both a cause and a consequence of homelessness. Many people can lose their home because a serious mental health condition leaves them unable to manage a mortgage or tenancy, and being homeless or at risk of becoming homeless can be so traumatic it can trigger a mental health problem. There are often the added complexities of addiction and substance misuse, which many of our clients battle.

“It is vital that people in a housing crisis who are experiencing mental health problems receive appropriate support for their conditions – so they are able to recover, sustain a long-term home, and live full and independent lives. At Launchpad we offer therapeutic activities to help our clients address their problems, develop coping strategies and build self-esteem, which includes counselling and art therapy. We also work in partnership with agencies across Reading, such as community mental health teams, to ensure clients have access to targeted and intensive treatment and support.”

Launchpad helped over 1,400 people in Reading to get back on their feet in 2018, a figure which has doubled in just four years. For more information about Launchpad, or to donate, visit: launchpadreading.org.uk