Winters harsh impact on mental health At this time of year as we head into winter we tragically see a rising and disturbing level of lost hope amongst our friends who are rough sleeping. This is why our outreach work and one to one support is so vital, we’re here to stand with people who feel all hope is lost to lift them and provide supporting and positive intervention at a time of great distress in their lives. On early morning street outreach last week our engagement workers met a man who was visibly shaking and at first our thought was that he had hypothermia. We discovered that he was at real risk, suicidal and in need of immediate intervention and care. Our team brought him straight back to our Beacon Support Centre where we created a calm environment and thankfully he felt able to talk. We discovered that he was homeless because he had been running away from sexual abuse, he had been rough sleeping moving from one area to another 17 times since the start of the year, he hadn’t had access to medication and he was Bipolar and a Schizophrenic. While he was with us we contacted the housing solutions team at the council and due to his circumstances they had a duty of care and we managed to do a safeguarding application which resulted in him getting into safe and individual accommodation with the support of social services and the mental health team. He has since been back to a Barnabus a few times because he feels safe and supported. Our outreach work is not just a way to engage with people and to encourage them to engage with the services available to them, it is vital that we can check up on the physical and mental health of our friends who are rough sleeping. This is an example of someone who we found in a life threatening and extremely vulnerable position, fortunately we were able to identify this and help him. This time of year is challenging for everyone’s mental health as the days get shorter and the weather gets worse, a vital part of our work is monitoring and supporting our friends through this. Please sign up to our mailing list so that we can keep you updated, you can also find our latest urban harvest appeal and ways to support us on the homepage of our website.