Men are the vast majority of homeless deaths

05/01/21 . News

Recent ONS figures show that men are now over seven times more likely than women to die while homeless.

Since 2013, the ONS has annually collected data which estimates the number of homeless deaths and percentage by gender and age in England and Wales.

For the year 2019, a record estimated 687 homeless men died, showing a significant increase of 55% over the five years the statistics have been collected.

Homeless men typically face major health inequalities, and are dying on average 30 years younger than men in the general population, at an average age of just 43.

The Forum endorses calls from Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, for the government to improve access to health services for the homeless population.

Homeless suicides increase almost a third

In the UK, three out of four suicides are men.  With men making up 88% of the total of homeless deaths in England and Wales, and as suicides among homeless people increase almost a third in one year to make up 14% of total deaths, the Forum believes that government ought to place particular emphasis on improving access to mental health services for homeless men.

There also needs to be greater training, awareness and understanding within frontline staff in local authorities of the barriers men face in seeking help.

Almost two in five deaths of homeless people in 2019 were related to drug poisoning in 2019 (289 estimated deaths; 37.1% of the total number), a consequence of poor mental health.

Predictably, the highest number of deaths occurred in December and January.  Clearly, 2021 is an opportunity for the government to further investigate these concerning trends and build a strategy to reduce this growing number of preventable deaths.

The Men’s Health Forum need your support

It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. So we’re asking.

In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of 65. If we had health policies and services that better reflected the needs of the whole population, it might not be like that. But it is. Policies and services and indeed men have been like this for a long time and they don’t change overnight just because we want them to.

It’s true that the UK’s men don’t have it bad compared to some other groups. We’re not asking you to ‘feel sorry’ for men or put them first. We’re talking here about something more complicated, something that falls outside the traditional charity fund-raising model of ‘doing something for those less fortunate than ourselves’. That model raises money but it seldom changes much. We’re talking about changing the way we look at the world. There is nothing inevitable about premature male death. Services accessible to all, a population better informed. These would benefit everyone - rich and poor, young and old, male and female - and that’s what we’re campaigning for.

We’re not asking you to look at images of pity, we’re just asking you to look around at the society you live in, at the men you know and at the families with sons, fathers and grandads missing.

Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.

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