Securing Community-Based Supportive Housing, One Bed At A Time

Posted 29 Apr 19

According to the World Health Organisation a staggering 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in our lives and for some, hospitalisation can be the only option where personal safety becomes a concern. However, many organisations and official bodies specialising in mental health argue that this should not, and was certainly never intended to be, a long term solution. Here at Time 4 U Limited,  we believe that high quality supportive housing and assisted living services can provide invaluable long term support to struggling to cope with mental illness, and a number of organisations would agree.

Mental Health Supportive Housing Crisis?

Over the last few years there have been a number of reports and press releases questioning the institutionalisation and treatment of some mental health patients, especially when it comes to their longer term living arrangements. One report from The Times highlighted that a number of patients were being contained in psychiatric wards run by a charitable organisation, despite the fact they were deemed ready for discharge. The reason? Amongst other factors, a distinct lack of community accommodation such as supportive housing for them.

“Governments should move away from large mental institutions and towards community health care, and integrate mental health care into primary health care and the general health care system.” (WHO)

It is thought that one of the most effective ways to help those with mental health illnesses back on the road to recovery, is to help facilitate their return to the community home life. This is where supportive housing and other supported living or assisted living services can really make a huge difference to those coping with mental illness . But with an already overstretched care system, the mental health supportive housing available is limited at best, leaving more and more people with little choice but to remain in ‘institutionalised’ accommodation. The team here at Time 4 U Limited are proudly working hard to help secure community-based supportive housing, one bed at a time.

For anyone working in the area of assisted living, it’s more than likely that they are aware of the Care Quality Commision (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The CQC have had quite a say on the subject of mental health supportive housing (or lack of), having criticised the NHS and that many for-profit mental health services operating across the country for placing patients into “outdated and sometimes institutionalised care”. In this light, one of the CQC’S biggest concerns is that because such accommodation is often located far away from home, patients are left feeling isolated. It is thought that this can have a direct impact on a patient’s recovery, community-based supportive housing can make a huge difference to the lives recovering from mental illness.

Sectioning or Supported Living?

Under the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended in 2007), an individual can be detained in a hospital or ‘sectioned’ for their own safety or the safety of those around them if it is deemed necessary. There are usually a number of factors that determine which ‘section’ a person is detained under, such as the specific mental health condition in question, the course of treatment required and of course any other individual circumstances. Sectioning can be an incredibly effective form of short term treatment, especially in a time of crisis where there can seem like little other realistic choice. However, where a form of supported housing is able to provide a ‘home’ for patients, these ‘locked rehabilitation wards’ have received a great deal of criticism. Instead of enabling  independence as many supportive living services aim to do, patients are not actively encouraged back to their own homes, with mental health charity ‘Mind’ linking the treatment to a lack of basic human rights. “To see that there are 3,500 people in effectively institutionalised settings in 2017 is very worrying.”(Sophie Corlett, Mind).

A Struggling Mental Health Care Sector

Lack of available mental health supportive housing aside, long treatment waiting times for community mental health services is thought to be a huge contributing factor to this wide-spread problem. 18% of young people with an eating disorder for example, have to wait up to 18 weeks to see a specialist whilst 22% of people referred to a memory service should expect to wait 11-18 weeks for an assessment. An increase in supported housing and a wider availability of supportive living services could just help to ease the burden that long waiting times and lack of immediately available help can create.

It has been fairly well documented that the mental health sector in general is suffering from a number of shortages across a whole range of services, from the number of qualified nurses and care staff to the lack of available beds and a growing number of (sometimes unnecessary) physical restraints. One interesting point raised by the CQC is that the poor quality of accommodation is thought to be adding to unseen or uncontrollable self harm, making the need for quality mental health supportive housing a very real one. This is something that the team here at Time 4 U Limited are very much focused on, providing high quality supportive housing across the board to help facilitate the best possible quality of life.

Mental Health Supportive Housing From Time 4 U Limited

There are without a doubt a number of fantastic mental health care providers across the country, doing superb work for those struggling to cope with mental illness. However as the Department of Health have been reported to say: “we know there is more to do to promise everyone the very highest standards of care”. Here at Time 4 U Limited we are dedicated to the provision of high quality supportive housing and assistive living services across London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Kent. We have a number of high quality supportive housing properties available, all of which are fully equipped with essential amenities such as TV and internet as well as some exquisite outdoor spaces. Comfortably furnished and beautifully decorated, our supportive housing is designed to make our residents feel at home as well as a valued member of their community. These values are something that we believe every individual should experience regardless of any additional needs; helping to improve self confidence and feelings of self worth. Where additional help is required, whether that be around the house or more specific medical requirements, our assisted living and independent living services are again, designed to help secure more community-based supportive housing.  Here at Time 4 U Limited we follow an ‘ENABLE’ mantra of Elevate, Nurture, Aspire,Bespoke, Listen, Enrich. In doing this, our extensive team of care professionals are able to maintain a consistently high level of quality services across all of our supportive housing properties and assisted living services. Whilst there is still an awful lot of work to be done across the country to make a lasting difference to the current community-based supportive housing ‘crisis’ we truly believe that it is the work of organisations such a Time 4 U Limited that will really start to help bring about real and lasting change. If you are interested in any of our supportive housing, assisted living or independent living services please do get in touch and our friendly team will be able to provide further information and guidance.