Tackling mental health and homelessness
The homelessness charity The Peter McVerry Trust has just teamed up with a newly launched mental health charity, the Reuven Field Foundation. The charity was officially launched in Dublin on Friday 14 October 2022, with its initial project, Ireland’s first Rural Mobile Mental Health Unit.
The mental health charity aims to make mental health services accessible to all and to tackle disadvantage caused by decades of underfunding in Ireland’s mental health services.
The charity will fundraise through events and channel funds to chosen partners providing services for the people who are in the most need of help.
The charity’s founder Scott Field, (pictured above with Peter McVerry SJ) unveiled the Reuven’s Foundation’s first project which is to fund Ireland’s first Rural Mobile Mental Health Unit. The service will be delivered in partnership with Peter McVerry Trust, and the unit will provide care to people at risk of homelessness in areas that don’t have transport links to key services.
Scott Field, founder of the Reuven Field Foundation, says that Ireland is unfortunately in the dark ages when it comes to the level of funding channelled to mental health services. He notes that less than 6% of the annual health budget goes towards mental health whilst the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 12%, and the UK invests 15%.
“The knock-on effect of this lack of investment is huge in terms of costs to the state as well as trauma for individuals, families, and local communities,” he says, adding that homelessness, addiction, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, self-harm, and suicide are just some the types of trauma caused. “The list is long and mental healthcare workers are at breaking point and this needs to be addressed.”
According to Fr Peter McVerry SJ, founder of Peter McVerry Trust, “The exit out of homelessness is getting harder and harder – the options for leaving are fewer and fewer. We’re also still dealing with the fallout of Covid-19. So, we’re seeing a big increase in people impacted by homelessness who are presenting with mental health problems. If you live in the countryside, mental health services are often inaccessible. With this new project, the services will come to the people who need them the most. It will not only make their lives easier but it will make their lives more hopeful.”
Read more about the Reuven Field Foundation here or follow the foundation on social media to be kept up to date on fundraising events and how to volunteer.