Updated toolkit: mental health interventions for people who sleep rough

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 - 4:17pm

Comprehensive guidance for frontline workers, now updated to reflect new requirements under the Care Act 2014.

What are the options when informal and collaborative approaches to working with someone sleeping rough fail, are rejected, or when there are urgent concerns about that person’s safety?

These tools are designed to help frontline workers assess someone sleeping rough who is mentally ill, and to get the right support from statutory agencies. First published in 2013, this revised edition now covers the requirements of the Care Act 2014, as well as lessons learned from outreach teams over the past couple of years.

What's inside?

  • a structured risk assessment framework to supplement your existing tools, designed to identify some of the particular risks associated with sleeping rough
  • a Mental Capacity Act screening tool, enabling a formal assessment of a person's capacity to make decisions and in particular their decision to stay on the street
  • a Mental Health Act screening tool, enabling outreach workers to assess whether a referral for a Mental Health Act assessment is appropriate
  • a hospital admission plan, to ensure that any admission to hospital includes effective assessment, interventions and discharge plans for someone who is sleeping rough
  • guidance on safeguarding adults, to assist practitioners to raise safeguarding alerts in respect of people sleeping rough.

You can download the guidance and tools in full at the end of this article.

This guidance was designed by Pathway, in partnership with Lambeth Council, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM), Thames Reach, The Greater London Authority and Enabling Assessment Service London (EASL).

Mental health service interventions for people who sleep rough

Tools and guidance on assessing the risks associated with rough sleeping, use of the Mental Capacity Act, use of the Mental Health Act, developing a hospital admission plan, and raising safeguarding adults alerts - developed by Lambeth Council in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Thames Reach and the Greater London Authority. The three forms in Word can be downloaded and completed electronically by frontline workers.


For some people who sleep out, a major mental illness has both been the cause of homelessness and also the thing that is keeping the person homeless.

Dr Phillip Timms, Consultant Psychiatrist