It has been a challenging but empowering few months managing mental health homelessness services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Based in Croydon, our service consists of Eva House, Emily House, and Crocus House and supports 27 people experiencing mental ill-health.
Supporting people who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions, such as paranoid schizophrenia, particularly concerned myself and the team. We were worried that high risk individuals could become unwell and reach a crisis point. To ensure this didn’t happen, we kept close and detailed contact with our external partners (Local Authority, Commissioners and South London and Maudsley mental health team) to make sure an appropriate level of support was provided to our most vulnerable residents.
Although we stopped visitors coming into our services, we have kept our communal lounge open, allowing a maximum of two people at any one time, whilst managing the risk of mental health deterioration and isolation. We have also used it to continue key work sessions conducted two metres apart, and for residents to engage with video calls to their doctors and care coordinators.
We reached out to our fundraising team and local community using social media and received regular donations of essential items and food for our residents. We also worked with our facilities team and external partners to ensure we had the correct PPE.
Changes in the way we work included:
Words by Betsy Biggs, Mental Health Step Down Team Manager