Physical and mental health

Living on the street is often both the result of health issues and the cause of them. It becomes a vicious circle, where, for example, drugs and alcohol are used to 'numb' the reality of the person's trauma but then the maintenance of drug use becomes the sole focus of existence, leading to crime and prostitution. Participants talk about reactions to bereavement, depression, nervous breakdown and the reasons they started using drugs, and its effects.

"So I got on the bus, went to Tower Bridge, climbed up, went to go forward to jump and somebody grabbed me. Pulled me down. It was this black guy, I didn't know him and he just looked at me and I started to cry. And I said to him, 'It's falling apart, it's all falling apart. I don't know what's going on. I've got nothing no more. What the hell am I supposed to do?'" Linda, 52

Some interviews contain strong language.

1. Starting drugs 9.7 Tracy, 40

2. Drugs and friends 1.2 Eton, 48

3. Bereavement 22.1 Mark, 37

4. Consequences of drug use 7.10 Sharon, 41

5. Experiences of detox and struggles with drug use 27.3 John, 53

6. Suicide and self harm 10.2 Joanne, 32

7. Depression and anger 6.1 Roy, 68

8. Nervous breakdown 9.6 Tracy, 40

9. Reaction to trauma 19.1 Jason, 39

10. Using drugs as an escape from homelessness 14.5 Lee, 25

11. Alcoholism 22.7 Mark, 37

12. Hospitalisation for mental ill health 25.8 John, 44