11 January 2012
St Mungo's and the Central London Samaritans are trialling a new emotional support service for homeless people.
The fortnightly sessions are the first that Central London Samaritans have based in one hostel but the service is open to all of St Mungo's residents across London.
Trained volunteers from Central London Samaritans have worked with more than 20 homeless people since the pilot service began in November, with the hope to continue after the pilot finishes in February.
Laura Fleming, Outreach Officer at Central London Samaritans said: "This is the first time we've provided our services within homeless hostels. Over the last ten years Central London Samaritans volunteers have been going out onto the streets to offer emotional support to people sleeping rough. We came to a St Mungo's World Health Day event at the Endell Street hostel and it became clear that we could work more closely with residents within hostels too. The sessions have been well attended and we would very much like to continue the project beyond a pilot stage."
Janet Martin, Manager of St Mungo's Endell Street hostel, said: "St Mungo's guiding ethos is to support people as they recover from the traumas that lead to homelessness. We support with emotional support depending on their personal needs. This can range from psychotherapy and counselling to befriending and mental health advocacy for support dealing with practical issues that have impacted or may impact on mental wellbeing. Samaritans support within the hostel environment is another welcome element and also helps people make lasting connections with community services which can continue as they move on and re-build their lives away from St Mungo's."
Almost half* (49%) of St Mungo's residents have a mental health condition. Of those, two thirds suffer from depression and half suffer from anxiety.
St Mungo's opens doors for homeless people across London and the South. St Mungo's manages more than 100 housing, health and employment projects across London and the south. Each night the charity provides accommodation for over 1,700 homeless and vulnerable people.