On Air

Pat Sharp


Many homeless people live in constant fear of physical attack, suffer loneliness and worry that the few belongings they own will be stolen.  As a result mental health problems affect all homeless people in one way or another – that’s according to Glen Panter from the Greater Manchester mental health team. He says, “Mental health problems will usually lead to them disengaging with friends and family and could cause problems with managing a tenancy.

“Many also suffer from delusional beliefs which makes it very difficult for them to settle in one place.

"We don't deal with as many males as females but the ones we do see are often sex workers, just so they can have a bed for the night."

It’s also a significant problem among ex-servicemen.  We spoke to Rob Paxman who used to be in the SAS runs Talking2Minds. Having suffered from post-traumatic stress himself he wanted to help others at risk of becoming homeless once the leave the forces. He says, “You’re dealing with people who’ve suffered very severe stress in their careers.

“It’s very easy to teach someone to be a soldier but to teach someone how to become a civilian and think differently is a struggle.”


According to GPs the homeless community can also suffer from acute health problems with the average age of death for a homeless person is 47. Chronic health problems are the most common among the homeless community with about 60% suffering with alcohol problems while there are around 50% living with a drug dependency.

Access to health care can be difficult for people living on the streets which in turn leads them to long term illnesses.