AN INDEPENDENT study has highlighted the state of homelessness and mental health in the area, while providing 2,000 counselling sessions for youngsters.

The ‘Vital Signs’ study, released by Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF), stated that there has been a 132% increase in rough sleeping since 2010 and a 34% increase in households accepted as homeless, while 46,000 adults were recorded as having depression in 2014/15. 

The group has raised over £128,000, to be distributed to the voluntary sector across Berkshire to improve mental health awareness, while using grant money to finance counselling sessions.

The report stated: “GP patient surveys show that in Berkshire, Bracknell & Ascot is highest for people reporting a long-term mental health problem and across Berkshire an estimated 6,800 people have a severe mental illness.”

“It is therefore vital that sufferers have early access to support to advert crisis and crucial signposting of services.”

In 2016/17, the BCF were awarded £979,263 in grants to support addressing needs including 2,000 counselling sessions to young people.