Job description: Policy & Research at St Mungos
Areas of interest: Housing and homelessness – services for women with complex needs, Domestic abuse, Families and children – including relationships, Substance use, Women involved in the criminal justice system, Mental health and wellbeing, Childhood trauma – including being in care or childhood abuse, Employment and skills, Improving support for women involved in prostitution
Faye Mooney's Recent Activity
"Summary of findings from 'Making the link between mental health and youth homelessness: A pan-London study', Mental Health Foundation & Centrepoint, 2006
This study examines the increased risk factors for homelessness among 16-25 year olds. Key findings from service sector data included:
• a lack of integration between services attending to housing and mental health needs simultaneously
• a lack of mental health awareness, including low confidence across service sector staff to provide basic emotional support for young people within the generic housing and homelessness sector.
Mental health problems commonly precipitated and were exacerbated by homelessness and were typically present within socially disadvantaged groups. However, promising practice examples were identified, reflecting innovative approaches delivering more comprehensive care.
Mental health problems in young people: In recent years there has been an upsurge of scientific and media interest in the mental health of young people. However, our understanding of the long-term consequences of child and adolescent mental health problems is at a relatively early stage. Nevertheless, there is an emerging body of evidence that points to the long-term costs of child and adolescent mental ill-health for individuals, their families and communities.
Associations between mental health and homelessness: It seems reasonable that in most cases the loss of one’s home will bring about stressors that can deplete an individual’s mental health. Thus, it is estimated that between 30% and 50% of single people experiencing homelessness have mental health problems compared with between 10% and 25% of the general population (Warnes et al 2003). More specifically in a London based study of young people experiencing homelessness in which psychiatric diagnostic criteria were used, two thirds met the threshold for a mental disorder (Craig et al 1996). In the same study 70% of those with a diagnosable mental illness had experienced their first symptoms before their first episode of homelessness.
It seems likely that as well as creating or exacerbating mental health problems, homelessness might itself be precipitated by a mental illness. There is also the possibility that other factors may put individuals at risk of both homelessness and mental health problems. Against this backdrop Centrepoint (2005) has reported a lack of adequate provision to manage the increase in mental health problems amongst young people, which if untreated can lead to far greater long-term problems."
Reply To: Mental health and wellbeing
"During Mental Health Week 2013, there was a debate held in the House of Commons on “Mental Health” (16th May). Below are extracts relating to women and to homelessness:
Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes) (Con):
I want to talk about social exclusion and the role of mental health services in social exclusion. If a person is homeless, they are far more likely to suffer from mental health problems. Equally, if a person has mental health problems, they are very much more likely to end up homeless and on the streets. In my area of Totnes, we tragically have suffered some deaths among our homeless population. We know from those who provide help to the homeless in south Devon the level of dual diagnosis—the number of people who have both mental illness and, for example, addiction problems. I would very much like to hear from the Minister in her summing-up what work will be done to improve access to dual diagnosis. I pay tribute to Mark Hatch and the work that he has been doing, alongside very many dedicated volunteers, with the Revival Life Ministries and with Shekinah, providing an outstanding service to our local community.
I want to raise a point about access to GP services for the socially excluded and homeless. In coming months, there will be much focus on how we reduce health tourism. If, in reducing health tourism, we require people to bring a passport to their GP in order to be registered, very many people who are socially excluded will not be registered because they simply do not have access to identification. I ask the Minister, in addressing an important problem of great concern, to be particularly careful to avoid making it even harder for the socially excluded to obtain help with their problems. That would be a real avoidable tragedy.
Jeremy Corbyn (Islington) (Lab)
Voluntary Sector & Female Mental Health
In an earlier speech, I made an intervention about the role of the voluntary sector in dealing with mental health conditions. As I have pointed out, my borough has considerable problems in dealing with mental health, but we have a number of very good local organisations that often deal with mental health issues in an innovative and supportive way, and are often very successful. Nafsiyat, an intercultural therapy centre based in Finsbury Park which was founded by the late Jafar Kareem, was groundbreaking in its ideas of looking at the cultural background and ensuring culturally appropriate treatment of people with mental illness, for example by making sure there are people who speak the necessary languages and understand something of the specific cultural background. The Maya Centre, which particularly relates to women, does much of the same work... We also have the Refugee Therapy Centre and the Women’s Therapy Centre, which also provide therapy on a culturally sensitive basis.
Jane Ellison (Battersea) (Con)
Female Genital Mutilation
A study cited by the World Health Organisation in the mid-2000s examined the effects of FGM on the mental health of women. The researchers concluded that FGM is “likely to cause various emotional disturbances, forging the way to psychiatric disorders,” especially post-traumatic stress disorder, possible memory dysfunction and other problems associated with trauma.
The BMA’s 2011 guidance acknowledged that little is documented about the psycho-sexual and psychological effects of FGM, but it does say: “Long term consequences might also include behavioural disturbances as a result of the childhood trauma and possible loss of trust and confidence in carers who have permitted, or been involved in, a painful and distressing procedure” and that “women may have feelings of incompleteness, anxiety and depression, and suffer chronic irritability, frigidity, marital conflicts, or even psychosis.”
The point that I want to make is that there is a significant mental health aspect to FGM, but that it is not well documented. Not many of our front-line professionals have it at the front of their minds when trying to explain other problems. I just want to put that on the record so that the Minister and the Department of Health can reflect on it and so that it starts to become a normal thing for mental health professionals to talk about and think about, particularly when they see people from communities that practice FGM and who might have suffered it."
Reply To: Mental health and wellbeing
"An overview of some of the existing research on women’s homelessness and mental health:"
Reply To: Mental health and wellbeing