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Homelessness kills men 30 years earlier

The UK’s first international homeless health conference will focus on improving health services for homeless people, 70% of whom are men.

A study investigating homeless mortality in England for the period 2001-2009 suggests that the average age of death for homeless people is shockingly low at 47 years old, compared to an age of 77 for the general population.

Homeless men, who make up the majority of the single homeless population, die at much younger ages, particularly from 30 to 64, thus, 30 years before the average population.

The research conducted by Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people, highlights different causes of deaths for people living on the streets.

Suicide 9 times higher

Whilst the main causes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, remain the same as for the general population, drugs and alcohol, often combined with mental health problems, account for over one third of all homeless deaths.

Homeless people are also 9 times as likely to commit suicide and often killed through external factors such as traffic accidents, infections and falls.

At the international homeless health conference, taking place on 27 and 28 February in central London, a wide range of health experts from the UK and overseas, including Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Health, will focus on homeless people’s health needs and address the health costs and consequences of homelessness.

According to a mental health trust, the costs of treating homeless people are estimated at £2 million. A major hospital has calculated that it would save £5 million a year if homeless people had better access to health services. The conference, organised by the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health and promoted by Pathway, a new national health homeless charity, will address the issue of better identification and treatment of homeless people.

Page created on February 25th, 2013

Page updated on March 11th, 2013