My Health My Story: The challenges facing Hackney’s Homeless

Last month, four St Mungo’s hostel residents filmed ‘My Health: My Story‘, a short documentary about what it’s like to be homeless in Hackney, and the challenges accessing support.

Daniel, Guy, Jeremy and Tom from Mare Street Hostel earned Time Credits for planning and filming the mini-documentary. They shared their personal health experiences, and filmed their own ideas for what could help others in a similar situation.

Co-producing the film

Residents drew from their own lived experiences to make My Health: My Story. They filmed each other’s stories and ideas, and fed in to the final edit. They focused on the barriers, as well as what advice they’d give others, and what they think could help overcome these challenges.

Jeremy, 24, shares his story in the film, about how volunteering helps him stay positive:

“Being part of physically making the film was great…. but my favourite part was actually getting to share my own story. It was good to be able to use my own personal experience to help raise awareness about some of the issues we face. And to hear from staff and professionals that they are impressed with what we did, that’s amazing.

Making a film is also a really powerful thing. It’s not every day you get to make something like that – to know you can hopefully reach lots of people, and help them learn what it’s like, and who we are.”

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Health and Homelessness

People affected by homelessness face some of the worst health outcomes in the UK

  • Homeless people in the UK are likely to die 25 years earlier than the national average age
  • 73% of single homeless people have one or more physical health condition, and for four in 10, this is a long term problem
  • 80% have one or more mental health conditions
  • Four in 10 single homeless people with poor mental health self medicate with drugs or alcohol

City and Hackney Time Credits project is focused on improving health outcomes for people affected by homelessness. Commissioned by City and Hackney CCG, we’re working with St Mungo’s Mare Street hostel residents to understand the barriers to accessing support, and what they think could help. In making the film, residents have articulated how services could help in a clear, powerful way.

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“What really comes across in the film is that although there are lots of complex issues around homelessness, there are some fairly simple things that all health services can do to better meet the needs of this population and help people look after themselves; appointment reminders, a simple phone call to ask people how they’re getting on and making sure people have access to clear and easy to understand information.”

 Eeva Huoviala, Patient and Public Involvement,NHS City and Hackney CCG

The film is already making an impact at a local level too. St Mungo’s is planning to share the video with staff and clients, as part of improving access to health services for clients. They will also invite the four film makers to share their skills and their ideas further.

“As always, I’m inspired by the honesty and openness to sharing from our residents. I love how the film brings out each person’s strengths and uniqueness. We’re really interested in how we can learn from the messages they have for us about homelessness and how we can publicise and share these issues more widely.”

Kellie Murphy, Regional Director, St Mungo’s