Support launched for those who help London’s homeless

New online platform offers help to helpers who feel under supported.


High levels of need amongst London’s rough sleepers are all too obvious – now, a new initiative now looks to help their helpers.

Westminster City Council and the Borough of Lambeth are backing aneemo – the online training platform for health and social care professionals and volunteers – as it launches a free, open-to-all course to address ‘under-skilling’ in addressing street need.

The Mayor of London has put up money through his Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund, with the course billed as boosting better understanding of the multiple health inequalities and social exclusions that cause and maintain homelessness.

The launch is timed for Mental Health Awareness week.

Starts suggest some 80% of rough sleepers have a mental health issue, with 70% meeting a personality disorder diagnosis.

That’s a high level of need that aneemo says health, social care and voluntary sector staff commonly report feeling deskilled and under supported in addressing.

The aneemo Rough Sleeper Mental Health Awareness Course utilises latest learning management system technology to deliver training to pan-London professionals from a variety of sectors.

Introduced by Deputy Mayor James Murray, the course carries advice from a wide range of leading national and international experts, including Sir Michael Marmot of University College London on understanding and working with the complex mental health difficulties and compound trauma experienced by homeless people.

“This project is exceptionally important at this time, as we address the mental health inequalities in society and see an ever increasing need for support,” said Dr Emma Williamson, principal clinical psychologist and aneemo CEO.

“We know that trauma and mental health difficulties can often precede, perpetuate and maintain homelessness, before we consider that becoming homeless in and of itself is enough to cause mental distress.

“We are bringing together a library of experts in bitesize training videos to ensure we are getting the best practice out there to the frontline where it’s needed most,” she said.

The bespoke course offers access to view three hours of specialist video including life experiences, downloadable articles, tools and resources – specifically written by leading experts, with study guides and further reading.

Users can monitor their progress with quizzes and assessments.

“The Mayor is pleased to be helping fund this course by aneemo, which will provide frontline professionals with the training and knowledge they need to offer support to those that need it most, and help them turn their lives around,” said Murray.

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