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A mental health navigator for rough sleepers has been employed as a joint project between Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) and Southend Council.
The aim is to provide people who are sleeping rough and living with a pre-diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health condition, the support they need.
It is hoped the appointment will break down some of the barriers rough sleepers face when accessing health care, such as not being registered with a GP or fear of stigmatisation.
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, with a responsibility for housing, said; “I am very pleased about the mental health navigator post as it’s another way we can help and EPUT have the knowledge and expertise to provide that help.
“Especially in light of the changes in society caused by coronavirus, mental health is more of a priority than ever and I think the announcement of this appointment is perfectly timed to support the changes, whatever they may be, as we move forward.”
The mental health navigator started in their post in May. The project is being funded as part of the rough sleeper initiative funding given to the council by central Government back in January.
Andy Brogan, executive chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at EPUT, said: “Mental health is among one of the most prevalent health needs of the homeless community. Sadly, rough sleepers often face a number of barriers to accessing mental health care.
“We are pleased that, working in partnership with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, we will be able to break down some of those barriers and provide specialist support to those who need it most.”