Improving access to housing for people with mental health needs

6 July 2022

New ways of working are changing the lives of people with mental health problems in Sussex.

The local NHS, social care, housing and community groups have been working together to improve the way people who are due to leave mental health hospitals, can access housing and support. 

This is one of a number of initiatives to address low-quality housing, homelessness and other housing problems which affect people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The new mental health Discharge to Assess (D2A) initiative provides supported housing services for people who are ready to leave hospital but need ongoing assessment and support. 

Joe, who has Bi-Polar Affective Disorder, experienced a relapse after losing a close family member and needed hospital treatment. The Discharge To Assess team arranged a ‘trial’ placement in supported housing which led to his move to independent accommodation. 

Joe said: " When admitted to hospital I was uncertain about my future and anxious about becoming homeless. 

"I got help to look for different types of accommodation and with essential items and other things I needed from local charities. 

"I'm really optimistic about my future. I have good, stable accommodation and a package of support. I now really want to help others who are going through what I did.”

D2A has already been established in West Sussex and Brighton and since February 2020 has helped more than 650 people with housing support on discharge from Sussex mental health hospitals. 

This new service is one of many initiatives being developed. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to all ages in Sussex, has come together with Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council, West Sussex County Council, and housing and support providers including Southdown, Turning Tides and Venture People to develop local mental health and housing plans in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove. 

Peter Molyneux, Chair at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: "Providing support for people seriously affected by mental health problems with housing and employment alongside clinical services is essential to their recovery. By working together, we can provide better housing options and ensure access to NHS, social care, housing, and community sector support is available to help people live a better and more fulfilling lives."

Venture People provides mental health support for people with complex mental health needs. Director, Hannah Kessock-Philip, said: "We are proud to be a partner of the Discharge to Assess service. It's been a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively to overcome barriers to discharge with our partners from Sussex Partnership, social care, housing and community services. 

"Delivering immediately-available support and accommodation has meant we can be responsive to people’s needs and reduce the time spent in inpatient settings. The service has not only been able to support timely discharges from hospital, but also help people move on from supported environments which they no longer require.”

For more information about the initiative, please click here.

Find out more about plans to integrate housing and mental health across Sussex.