The report is extremely practical and is relevant to everyone who works with clients or patients on the streets.
This document includes:
- Guidance on assessing the risks associated with rough sleeping
- Guidance on the use of the Mental Capacity Act
- Guidance on the use of the Mental Health Act
- Guidance on raising safeguarding adults alerts
This document was developed by the Mental Health Project for people sleeping rough and funded by the Greater London Authority.
The project was set up after a Serious Case Review, published in September 2012, undertaken by the Lambeth Safeguarding Adult Partnership Board. The review concerned a mentally ill person who was sleeping rough and died on the street in the winter of 2010. He had previously been under the care of mental health services and had contact with street outreach teams, ambulance crews and police at his rough sleeping site. He refused all the help that was offered and subsequently died on the street. The Serious Case Review panel decided that it would be helpful to develop a common set of protocols and tools for services working directly with people sleeping rough on the streets.
It is clear that not all homeless people who sleep out are suffering from a mental illness. However across London there is a small but significant group of people who have been sleeping rough for many years and are refusing to accept help to move from the streets. A key theme in the exclusion of such homeless people from mental health services has been an idea that sleeping rough is a lifestyle choice. The experience of the START Team, a community mental health team with over 20 years of working with people sleeping rough, is very different.