Men are the vast majority of homeless deaths
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.
- Full ONS statistics: Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: homeless registrations
It’s tough for men to ask for help but if you don’t ask when you need it, things generally only get worse. Especially during a major pandemic like Covid-19. So we’re asking.
Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.
Here’s our fund-raising page - please chip in if you can.