As many as 14 new NHS mental health outreach teams will support people who are homeless in towns with high rates of homelessness.
The scheme will be accompanied by £3.2 million new funding, which will be used to build and scale up services across the country, NHS England said.
The new mental health teams join 23 already operating across the country and will see doctors, nurses and other clinicians co-ordinate treatment with local councils and charities.
Teams will identify rough sleepers and will help them access a GP and expert mental health care, and will join up care with existing outreach, accommodation, drug and alcohol and physical healthcare services.
Depression, anxiety and panic disorder are more than twice as common among people experiencing homelessness, with rates of psychosis up to 15 times as high.
An estimated 3,069 people will be sleeping rough on a given night in England, Government figures say.
Alex Bax, chief executive of homeless charity Pathway, said: ‘While this news is very welcome, it falls short of what is necessary to address the disproportionately high level of need for health care services amongst people experiencing homelessness. With an average age of death for men sleeping rough of 45, we need to see better access to primary care, specialist multi-disciplinary teams to ensure safe discharge from hospital, and viable pathways to recovery for this vulnerable group. This must include housing provision.’
The new funding will be used to support services across:
- Westminster and Camden
- Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead
- Surrey Heartlands
- Great Yarmouth
- Hereford and Worcestershire
- Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin
- East Riding
- Sheffield and Doncaster
- Greater Manchester