Tweetathon: World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day 2012

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Four in five people who sleep rough suffer from a mental health problem, yet not all of those who experience homelessness are aware of the advice and services available to them. Share the steps you are taking to tackle these issues and raise awareness by Tweeting what you do for a day.

Ending Homelessness Together

We know most people don’t know what to do if they are at risk of becoming homeless, and many who end up on the streets have had no support from local services. This is an opportunity to use a public platform to let people know what support is out there."

Homeless Link – part of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition which includes Mind, DrugScope and Clinks – are calling on all housing, homelessness and mental health staff to take to Twitter this Wednesday (10 October) to give people a live insight into the steps they take every day to tackle issues around homelessness and mental health in the UK.

Research has shown that four in five rough sleepers report a history of anxiety or depression and over a third say they have attempted suicide*. Yet Homeless Link’s research highlights that almost half of rough sleepers won’t have had any contact with local homelessness services before they reach the streets and that homeless people can find it hard to access mental health support.

As rising homelessness, a recession and cuts to funding dominate the headlines, it’s time to raise awareness of the work that thousands of agencies and their staff do around the clock to make sure those living in their community with housing and mental health needs get the support they require..

Starting at 00.01 on 10 October using the hashtag #WhatsYourStep, the Tweetathon will celebrate World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day 2012.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, says:

“We know from our research that mental health problems are prevalent among those who experience homelessness.

“As part of the MEAM coalition we have been working to raise awareness of adults with multiple and complex needs and how services can work better together to support them. A huge amount of work is already being done across the UK, and together we want to take this opportunity to celebrate that.

“However, we also know that most people don’t know what to do if they are at risk of becoming homeless, and many who end up on the streets have had no support from local services. This is an opportunity to use a public platform to let people know what support is out there.”

Media contacts

Hannah Cornford | 020 7840 4467 | Hannah.cornford@homeless.org.uk
Benedict Knox | 020 7840 4425 | ben.knox@homeless.org.uk
Out of hours | 07881 921 476

NOTES TO EDITORS

Homeless Link is the national charity representing over 500 organisations working directly with homeless people in England, and works with local and national government. As the national hub for information and debate on homelessness, Homeless Link seeks to improve services and to advocate policy change that will end homelessness in England. http://www.homeless.org.uk

  • Tackling homelessness and exclusion: Understanding complex lives’ was published on 12 September 2011. Based on 452 in-depth follow up interviews it was published by the £700,000 Multiple Exclusion Homelessness (MEH) Research Programme (a partnership between the Economic and Social Research Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Homeless Link, Communities and Local Government and the Tenants Services Authority).

New to Twitter? Here’s what to do on the day

  • What’s a tweetathon? Everyone shares what they are doing around a specific topic for one day. The Local Government Association and Citizens Advice Bureau are just a couple of organisations that have led similar tweetathons recently to raise awareness of what they do. Check out #CABLive and #OurDay for inspiration.
  • Don’t forget to use #WhatsYourStep to show your tweet is part of the tweetathon – then we will know to re-tweet you and connect with you
  • Check out what others are tweeting by searching #WhatsYourStep – why not respond to them / follow them?
  • Is your tweet acceptable? Some details of your job may be confidential
  • Keep it short and sweet. Try and stick to one or two sentences, you could start “I’m helping to end homelessness today by…”
  • Reach a wider audience and build your followers by putting a hashtag with common words such as #homelessness or #multipleneeds
  • Get in touch and follow us if you have any further questions @HomelessLink

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