Partners working towards a more equal Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership and Oxfordshire Homeless Movement are joining forces for the World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day, both of which take place on October 10.
The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is mental health in an unequal world.
At least 50 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are diagnosed with a mental health condition. That’s why supporting people with their housing needs and ensuring they have safe and secure accommodation, is a key element of Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership’s (OMHP) work as the partnership cares for and supports people experiencing poor mental health. OMHP Homeless Oxfordshire Movement are working together to support and care for people who are homeless in the county.
Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership is made up of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Restore, Response, Oxfordshire Mind, Connection Support and Elmore Community Services. OMHP says:
“Oxfordshire’s homelessness problems epitomise the inequality in our county, and lack of access to affordable housing pushes too many people into crisis. At least 50 per cent of people experiencing homelessness are diagnosed with a mental health condition, underlining that these two issues are inextricably linked.”
To raise awareness of the work being done across the county, the partners are campaigning on social media plus organising a virtual workshop for system partners and stakeholders this World Mental Health Day.
And here OMHP partners and Homeless Oxfordshire Movement share just some of their broader range of work to tackle inequalities and support people with their mental health in Oxfordshire.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
We know that life experiences, and the personal and social challenges people face, can have a direct impact on people’s mental health. Some groups of people experience far poorer mental health than others and this can often reflects their experiences of social disadvantage. Our mental health services work with people who use our services and a wide range of organisations, in order to support people who use our services in all aspects of their life, including wrap around care and support for their health, education and work, housing, finances and physical fitness among a host of elements which make up someone’s life. That’s why the work of OMHP, of which the trust is a part, is so vital to helping people in Oxfordshire thrive day to day and live their everyday lives with family, friends and their community.
“Matters of inequality, discrimination and injustice are a huge cause of trauma, stress and long-term mental ill health. At Oxfordshire Mind, we believe that equity, diversity and inclusion are central to achieving good mental health and vital components in fulfilling our mission – we won’t give up until everyone has access to good mental health support.
“As part of our work to address mental health in an unequal world, in December 2020 we challenged stereotypical notions on who can be a Trustee, putting out an inclusive advert which was shared on Facebook and a diversity job board, leading to over 70 applications. We now have six new Board members who have exceptional skills and bring brilliant new voices and diversity to our leadership, helping to shape our future decision making in ways that improve mental health support for everyone.
“Real progress is already being made and we’ve got plenty more we want to do. We are proud to be continuing our journey of learning and growth through conversations with colleagues, volunteers, service users and local communities.”
“At Response, we advocate for every individual to ensure that no one falls through the gaps of an unequal system. We support Oxfordshire residents from the age of 4 upwards, with mild-complex mental health issues.
We provide additional support such as housing, home care, physical and day-to-day support, and therapy and emotional support. We ensure that our service users can focus entirely on their recovery. We understand that no recovery journey is the same, so we tailor our support to our service user’s needs on a case-by-case basis and provide a holistic approach to mental health recovery.”
“Connection Support often supports individuals like Robert, whose story highlights how their experiences as well as identity, race, sexuality and religion influence how we work alongside them. We listen and are compassionate to the person behind the diagnosis. Part of our role is to be an advocate for these individuals to ensure they are treated as equal, regardless of how they identify.
“Robert identified as transgender and was unfortunately a victim of a significant and traumatic incident in shared accommodation which, of course, affected his mental health and was directly related to his gender identity.
“His support worker spent much of the sessions discussing inequalities and how these have a profound impact on someone’s mental health. Robert knew he was not alone, and we took time to get to know him and personalise his support. We worked closely with him to ensure a successful outcome of support. He was eventually housed in emergency accommodation and is now bidding on more permanent accommodation.”
“We can never do enough to combat inequality, but we do know that this mustn’t stop us doing as much as we can. Our strategy at Restore is to persevere with small initiatives which, when added together, can make a significant difference. Examples of current small initiatives include:
- The Ripple Effect Project: creating a wave of conversations about mental health in diverse communities, through a targeted programme of free Mental Health First Aid training. Tackling stigma through understanding.
- The Innovations Project: developing digital solutions to reach out further and wider. Initial projects include the piloting of a digital recovery group and the formation of a growing LGBTQI+ forum.
Recent world events are helping us to focus more clearly on the necessity to look inwards and be critical of ourselves, but in a constructive way. Whatever happens, we mustn’t….and won’t…..take our foot off the accelerator.”
Elmore Community Service
Oxfordshire Homeless Movement
“Oxfordshire Homeless Movement (OHM) is a partnership of the many organisations working to ensure that nobody should have to sleep rough on the streets of Oxfordshire.
Oxfordshire is a very unequal county and the huge pressure on genuinely affordable housing means that there are no quick solutions to solving the issues for people experiencing homelessness.
Homelessness has a terrible impact on people’s mental health. Having nowhere to call home leads to an overwhelming sense of insecurity, and even if a person wasn’t suffering from mental health issues before they became homeless, they can quickly become anxious and afraid.
From our research we know that people care about homelessness, and one of our aims is to make it really clear and simple how people can help. “
Published: 6 October 2021