People with complex needs and behaviours

In every area people with multiple needs are living chaotic lives. Evidence shows that by working together local services can develop coordinated interventions that can transform lives. The MEAM Approach (Making Every Adult Matter) provides a non-prescriptive framework of seven core elements for developing a coordinated approach.

The extent to which housing organisations get involved in supporting these individuals varies from organisation to organisation and depends on the nature, causes (if they can be identified) and severity of the need or behaviours and the specialist skills and aims of the housing organisation. Some offer ‘supported’ or specialist housing, where accommodation and tailored support, and in some cases care, is provided for individuals who might otherwise be unable to cope with living in the community. Others provide specific roles, for example, helping people to address issues relating to alcohol and substance misuse.

If you can identify one or more housing organisations that has the right kind of specialism, they can work alongside health and other partners and service users to create a constructive supportive environment that enable people to live fulfilled and purposeful lives.

The NHS Confederation Mental Health Network is working with housing organisations to design new care pathways that involve housing as well as health providers.

Mental health problems

Stressed families

Provide life-enhancing connections, activities and therapies

Identifying people who are at risk of developing mental health problems

Mental health problems

Housing organisations that support individuals with a variety of mental health problems are:

  • homelessness agencies (represented by Homeless Link )
  • large housing organisations with a specialist care and support arm
  • housing organisations that specialise in supporting people with poor mental health

Mental ill health sometimes lead to the loss of a home and is estimated to affect between 33% and 76% of homeless people. Securing suitable stable accommodation is, for some, a key step in their stabilisation and recovery. Some organisations provide specialist accommodation with personalised and 24 hour support while others provide holistic, personalised types of support for people wherever they live. These organisations have a deep understanding of mental health issues and of recovery processes and they employ people with the personal and professional capabilities to support individuals’ recovery. They work with people who have drug and alcohol problems who may, for that reason, be unable to access mental health services. They work closely with mental health teams and other community-based agencies to achieve high quality care and support.

Case study: Tile Hill Kings Cross

Stressed families

Many housing and support providers were involved in the previous Government’s ‘Troubled Families’ initiative. They gained experience in identifying and addressing the root causes of family problems and in providing tailored support including counselling and other therapies. Some have a much longer experience from a range of ‘Family Intervention Projects’.

Provide life-enhancing connections, activities and therapies

Some housing organisations help people to take steps to improve their lives. They provide therapeutic activities such as gardening, art therapy, creative workshops and counselling. They help people to build the confidence to re-connect with family and friends they may have lost touch with, or to rediscover things they love doing and re-engage in these activities. Success is often evaluated using WEMWBS (Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale).

Identifying people who are at risk of developing mental health problems

Being close to residents and communities, frontline housing officers often become aware of people with complex needs or behaviours. Sometimes mental health problems are uncovered when they start to investigate why a resident’s rent arrears are rising. Increasingly, they are putting systems in place to identify and refer them, where appropriate, to a health partner or local agency that can help.

Case Study: Devon Enhanced Community Recovery Service (DECRS)