Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has launched a year-long
pilot to provide rough sleepers in the Ipswich and Suffolk Coastal areas with
dedicated mental health assessment and short-term interventions.
The new initiative will see Senior Mental Health Practitioner Jonathan Dickson
work with the Rough Sleeping Project to engage with people who are currently
not accessing mental health services, with the aim of getting them help to
address underlying mental health conditions.
The pilot, which began at the start of this month, has been made possible after
Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk Coastal District Council successfully
secured funding for the role from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and
Jonathan’s first priority will be to work alongside partner organisations to
identify the level of need and barriers to these individuals getting help for
their mental health.
He also plans to complete thorough assessments and offer short-term
interventions for people who are either already sleeping rough or at a high
risk of doing so, with the aim of enabling them to access mainstream mental
In addition, Jonathan will assist other organisations, such as housing support
organisations and health outreach services, to support clients with mental
“I have always been very keen on working with the most disadvantaged,
marginalised and hardest to engage people in our community, which is why I
applied for this job,” said Jonathan, who moved to the role from NSFT’s Access
and Assessment Team.
“Many rough sleepers tend to bounce around between different services. They can
be very complex, chaotic and spend a lot of time in crisis. This means they
could be seen by a variety of different teams without really engaging with any
service on an ongoing basis.
“My aim is to help get them into mainstream services, or to offer support and
guidance to the teams already working with this client group. I will also be
trying to build up trust with individuals and break down the barriers which
currently exist so that individuals and services can work together more
“Although the role will be challenging, it also has the potential to make a
real difference to people’s health and wellbeing, which in turn could reduce
the numbers sleeping rough by helping them into stable, permanent homes or by
preventing them from rough sleeping in the first place.”
A similar scheme is due to launch in west Suffolk within the next few months,
once recruitment has taken place.
Caption: Jonathan Dickson
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