Media release: For homeless Scots in London, mental health issues have high impact

BL Billy Case Study

MORE than half of Scottish homeless in London have mental health issues, the homelessness charity, Borderline, reports.

In the past year, Borderline’s Scottish Outreach Worker project found that 54 per cent of clients were recorded as having a mental health support need, which is higher than for the general rough sleeper population in London.

Mental health issues can be a major factor in making someone homeless, and they affect the ability to sustain a tenancy.

Borderline’s CEO, Shona Fleming, said: “Most of those suffering will be doing so in silence, not getting the help they so desperately need.

“The stigma attached to mental health conditions, with the stereotypes and misconceptions, can hold back those that Borderline supports.”

Now a Borderline client, Billy grew up in Edinburgh. As a teenager, he suffered a major trauma.

He said: “When I was 13-14 years-old, I got raped and molested by a friend of the family, and that continued for about two years.”

In and out of homelessness for many years, Billy eventually married and adopted a daughter. But flashbacks and panic attacks drove him back onto the streets.

Borderline offers a client-centred approach, providing access to specialist mental health services, such as the Camden Psychotherapy Unit.

After a consultation, clients may be offered regular psychotherapy sessions that can deal with a variety of emotional difficulties, such as relationship problems, depression, social isolation, eating disorders, anxiety or panic attacks.

In 2014, with support from Borderline’s Scottish Outreach Worker, Billy got off the streets and eventually into accommodation.

Borderline arranged for him to attend the Camden Psychotherapy Unit.

Continued Billy: “That’s helping me a hell of a lot. It’s making me feel better in myself. I’m not in a little shell anymore. It’s a big world out there, and there is no point being the way I am at the moment. I know that, and hopefully the therapy is going to help me get there. And I feel it is.”

The Borderline Outreach outcomes report also shows that 59 per cent of the assessed clients have been in prison and 22 per cent reported that they had previously been in care.


Notes for editors:

  1. Borderline is the only organisation specifically helping homeless Scots in London and our vision is that every Scots in London will have a home and receive the support they need to lead a healthy, independent life.
  2. Contact Borderline for the full Scottish Outreach Worker Outcomes report. Borderline chief executive, Shona Fleming, is available for further comment or interview. Please contact communications manager, Scott Swinton, on 0207 240 3718.
  3. Borderline can be found on Twitter@UkBorderline, Facebook at
  4. Outreach making a difference…
    In the past year, the Scottish Outreach Worker supported 59 clients, nearly four times our original target. Our assessment shows that:

    • five per cent of clients reported that they had previously served in the Armed Forces
    • 22 per cent of the assessed clients reported that they had previously been in care
    • 73 per cent of clients were met in the borough of Westminster. This demonstrates the importance of having our Scottish Outreach Worker based at the Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Westminster. The remaining 27 per cent were met in nine different boroughs; highlighting how our Scottish Outreach Worker works pan-London
    • 15 per cent were female
    • 59 per cent have been in prison
    • 30 per cent of the 59 clients who worked with our Scottish Outreach Worker stayed in accommodation last year. This includes a hostel stay, referral into a night shelter, sheltered housing, and private rented accommodation and/or returning to family/reconnection
    • Needs assessments showed that: 56 per cent had drug misuse issues; 42 per cent had alcohol misuse issues, 54 per cent had mental health support needs and 73 per cent were considered to have physical health needs
  5. Our charity is known as Borderline but registered as New Borderline.
  6. Camden Psychotherapy Unit can be found on Twitter @CamPsyUnit, Facebook and at

MEDIA RELEASE issued by Borderline UK. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on this site. Email here for more information.

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Borderline UK contact details…

Contact: Rory Desch
Phone: 02072403718