Groundbreaking research undertaken in partnership with Cardiff University highlights the mental health needs of young people who have been homeless.

The Study of Experiences of Young Homeless People (SEYHoPe) is a research project between Llamau and Cardiff University.  Prior to this, there had been little research into the mental health problems faced by homeless young people in the UK.

The findings of the SEYHoPe research revealed that an alarming 87.8% of young people with experience of homelessness had a psychiatric disorder compared to 32.3% of young people in the general population.  Worse still, only 31.3% of those participating in the research had accessed any form of mental health service.  

The research indicated that much more needed to be done to support young people experiencing mental health problems. Not only is quality of life of young people impaired by mental illness but they also have difficulty in completing tasks necessary to move on from homelessness.

Llamau’s response was to develop a new screening tool that helps identify mental health issues at an earlier stage, make more informed referrals and fast track access to support for service users.   

The mental health screening tool has significantly improved support for service users.

  • Service users are more engaged in talking about their mental health;
  • Staff are able to ask the right questions so that service users can respond more honestly about their difficulties;
  • Areas not previously recognised such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are now identified;
  • Appropriate support packages can be developed for individuals;
  • Changes in mental health can be tracked.

The SEYHoPe research project was conducted as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Llamau and Cardiff University Department of Psychology and Neuroscience & Mental Health Research Institute.  The KTP was awarded a Social Innovation Award in 2015 in recognition of the quality of the work the partnership has achieved.

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