20 December 2016

ACE attends reception at the House of Commons

ACE at House of Commons

The Assertive Contact and Engagement (ACE) Service recently attended a reception at the House of Commons to launch a piece of research as part of St Mungo's Stop the Scandal campaign - a response to the increasing number of individuals sleeping rough who also have mental health problems.

Two service users representatives, along with Paul Sargent, ACE service manager, and Paul Hudson, regional head of St Mungo's, were invited to represent ACE, as the service was highlighted as an example of good practice in a report about the campaign. ACE works with individuals who may experience difficulty accessing mainstream mental health services, including people who may be at risk of homelessness or who are sleeping rough.

ACE's service user representatives spoke to ministers and peers about their experiences and viewpoints regarding homelessness and mental health.

"It was a very productive day. I felt listened to and had very positive interactions with people," says service user representative Valentine.

Statistics released by the Stop the Scandal campaign have highlighted that four in 10 of those sleeping rough also experience a mental health problem. In addition, those sleeping rough who have a mental health problem has a tendency to remain on the streets for a longer period of time. As part of the Stop the Scandal campaign, St Mungo's clients have written to Jeremy Hunt MP, secretary of state for health, asking for a meeting to explain to him just how urgently specialist mental health services for people sleeping rough are needed. He has yet to reply to this.

St Mungo's is encouraging people to send an email to Jeremy Hunt MP, asking him to meet with a group of people who are on the road to recovery and have real experiences of sleeping rough with mental health problems.

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