Sheffield NHS working to address inequalities through mental health support

World Mental Health Day takes place today and the theme this year is mental health in an unequal world.

A 2020 Mental Health Foundation report found that issues such as low income or being part of a disadvantaged group mean it’s more likely to have difficulties with mental health, but also that it’s harder to access support.

Mental health services in Sheffield are working every day to try and tackle these inequalities.

The Homeless Assessment and Support Team (HAST), provided by Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, offers mental health support and treatment to rough sleepers and to homeless people in emergency accommodation.

Helen Cowhig, service manager, said: “The homeless population tend to be marginalised from health care services for many reasons associated with a chaotic lifestyle and struggle to access mainstream mental health services.

“Many people on our caseload have multiple complex needs including poor mental health, substance misuse and nearly all are affected by childhood and adult trauma.

“So the work that our team does is absolutely vital to making sure that these people are not left behind and are given the important support that they need.”

Sheffield Health and Social Care’s Health Inclusion Team are also fighting inequalities through their work in the city to support unsettled groups including up to 50 families who will be arriving in Sheffield from Afghanistan.

The main aim of the service is to support households who may miss out on mainstream health services because of their transient lifestyle and the complexity of needs.

They’ll offer a welcome pack to everyone they meet with information about facilities and services in Sheffield, and will create a plan to support them as they move forwards. They’ll also offer a friendly face that the people they see can always turn to.

Carol Moore, team lead of the Health Inclusion Team, said: “The people we work with have multiple barriers to them accessing services, but we aim to bridge these and make sure that everybody can have access to the support they need.

“The people we are supporting, including the people fleeing from Afghanistan, are likely to have experienced and seen things nobody should ever have to in their lifetimes.

“The importance of teams like ours has never been higher to make sure that all these people get the support they deserve.”

Find out more about these services at


Have you been affected by this story?

If you feel like you could use some support with how you’re feeling, there is help in Sheffield for you.

  • Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust Single Point of Access: 0808 196 8281
  • Rethink Mental Health Helpline: 0808 801 0440
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • If you or a loved one are aged under 18 you need to contact the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) at Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.