Good health and wellbeing are crucial for everybody to live happily and independently. However, for those at risk of becoming homeless or currently experiencing homelessness, the causes that have led to these circumstances often impede looking after oneself and maintaining a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Being homeless or at risk of homelessness majorly impacts young people and as a result, they are some of the most socially disadvantaged in society. Amongst other issues, including lack of housing, learning, training and job opportunities, homelessness can put young individuals at risk of major health problems. Previous research has shown that many have mental and physical health problems, and substance misuse issues, which have led to their homelessness or worsened their circumstances.

One of the biggest obstacles homeless young adults face is the difficulties interacting with our health services. This lack of engagement, coupled with a lack of concern for their own health and wellbeing, can lead to problems remaining undiagnosed and untreated.

For many young individuals, traumatic past experiences are a common cause of homelessness and can also trigger and lead to a variety of mental health problems. Similarly, issues with mental health and wellbeing can negatively impact a young person and can lead to disengagement from the support they have around them, disrupt their education and employment, and can cause problems in their personal relationships with family and friends.

Statistics and research carried out by Centrepoint, one of the UK’s leading youth homelessness charities, reveals that 42% of young homeless individuals have a diagnosed mental health problem or report symptoms of poor mental health. However, the figure of those suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues is believed to be much higher.

The ongoing stigma surrounding mental health remains apparent even today, despite the positive impact of national campaigns and the great work of support providers and charities throughout the country. As a nation, we must continue to promote inclusivity in all that we do and acknowledge that mental health matters and work to ensure the stigma associated with it is broken. The fact that this stigma still exists is perhaps another reason why young people facing the homelessness issue are unwilling to address potential problems and seek the support they may need to better their health and wellbeing.

Although physical health often receives less focus and attention than mental health, it is also a crucial part of a young person’s wellbeing. According to Centrepoint, young people frequently deprioritise their physical health when faced with other concerns, such as securing accommodation to avoid sleeping on the streets.

Having good physical and mental health is essential for homeless young individuals to better their circumstances and achieve their goals. To guarantee this is attainable for those in need, we must continue to ensure the support services they require are readily available throughout the country. This is why Pathway Homes Group (PHG) is committed to working in collaboration with leading support providers to ensure that everybody has access to quality housing and support services that are bespoke to their health needs.

Rhodri Andrews, Marketing and Communications Manager at PHG, stated: “We have partnered with some of the best support providers throughout the country, who work tirelessly to ensure that those facing homelessness not only have access to stable housing and accommodation but quality support services that will ensure they can receive the help and assistance they require to live a more happy and independent life”.