Shelter UK

Shelter is the UK’s biggest housing and homelessness charity. Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through our advice, support and legal services. Many of those people will be facing eviction, feeling at their wits’ end, and we are able provide support and guide them through what can be very difficult and stressful situations.

Several of Shelter’s direct support services focus on helping homeless households to obtain stable housing and, once this is obtained, provide on-going support to address other issues which may affect the household. These issues could be mental illness, offending behaviour, or substance misuse, for example. As part of this on-going support, we can encourage people from high risk groups to seek help when they are experiencing emotional distress. Shelter can also contribute to the delivery of some of the NSPA’s other outcomes, such as by helping people in distress to understand what support is on offer, raising awareness amongst our staff (particularly those employed on our national telephone helpline) about suicide prevention, and collaborate with agencies interested in suicide reduction.

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What are your current priorities?

Raise awareness amongst our staff around the causes of suicidal ideation

• We will work with partners to develop a greater understanding amongst our frontline staff around the causes of suicidal ideation and how it can be reduced through the services we deliver.

Raise awareness amongst our staff around suicide prevention

• We will work closely with the NSPA and partner organisations to raise awareness of suicide prevention, of the support networks available for those affected by suicide, to ensure our advisers have the right knowledge and tools to help those in need.

Maintain a culture of continuous improvement, which is focused on meeting the needs of our service users

• To ensure that our service user needs continue to be met, and that our services adapt and develop to meet these ever changing needs, and that we will ensure that policies and processes are implemented in a consistent way, whilst continuing to develop new and innovative ways for people to contact Shelter.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

As one of the largest UK housing charities we continue to face unprecedented demand for our services, with this trend likely to continue in the coming years. The major challenge for us as an organisation is to ensure we continue to develop and provide services that meet the needs of those who come to us for help, by placing them at the centre of all we do and by ensuring we have the resources and capacity to continue meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by homelessness and housing issues.

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