Merchants Quay Ireland launches appeal to help tackle mental health crisis among homeless
Homelessness is having a “growing impact” on mental health, Merchants Quay Ireland today warned.
The national homeless and addiction charity made the warning as it launches an appeal to help fund its mental health team.
Every year, around 400 people who are homeless receive mental health care at Merchants Quay Ireland. However, the mental health team are reliant on public donations to fund their work, and as the homeless crisis continues to deepen, the charity is seeking funds to safeguard its mental health service.
Research has shown homelessness to have a profound and long-lasting effect on an individual’s mental health. Statistics released last year by the National Self-Harm Registry found that people who are homeless are thirty times more likely to self-harm compared to the general population.
Launching the appeal, Merchants Quay Ireland CEO Paula Byrne said:
“Homelessness is a traumatic experience. To lose your home, to find yourself on the street with so much uncertainty, it creates a huge amount of anxiety. The longer people are homeless, the greater that impact.
“The homeless crisis is leading to its own mental health crisis, yet often Merchants Quay Ireland is the only place for someone who is homeless and suffering poor mental health to access services. We want to secure and extend that service, because we know mental health crises don’t just happen during office hours.”
Denis, a client of Merchants Quay Ireland, said:
“When you’re homelesss, you go around with a knot in your stomach all day. Physically it makes you feel very unwell but mentally, it takes a huge toll on you. It can be soul destroying.
“Mental health is massive, people don’t realise it. If I hadn’t had the mental health support I’ve received from Merchants Quay Ireland over the years, I’d be dead. It’s as simple as that.”
Zoe Dillon, Mental Health Nurse at Merchants Quay Ireland, said:
“Every single day at Merchants Quay Ireland, we have crisis interventions for mental health. That means managing situations where people may have self-harmed, are suicidal, or are having a psychotic episode.
“It also means helping people with the profound and ongoing mental health challenges that homelessness brings, particularly anxiety and depression. The public sees people sleeping rough, or hear the latest homeless statistics, but so much of the pain that homelessness brings is unseen.”
To help support this appeal, please visit www.mqi.ie/MentalHealth
For more information or to arrange an interview with an MQI spokesperson, please contact:
Merchants Quay Ireland
T: 01 531 2958
M: 086 7793 206
Notes to the Editor
About Merchants Quay Ireland
Merchants Quay Ireland is a leading Irish charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, educational programmes, vocational training, residential treatment, detox and prison counselling. www.mqi.ie
To find out more about Merchants Quay Ireland’s work, please see our newly released short film: https://youtu.be/8SkkmxdtLyE