Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Keeping the mentally ill off the streets

A recent study in London, Ontario (Canada) found that 194 people had been discharged from psychiatric facilities onto the street in 2002. This is usually disastrous for the people concerned leading to re-hospitalization and prolonged homelessness. An intervention was developed in which people were given immediate assistance in accessing housing and help in paying their first and last month's rent. Participants in the study were divided into two groups, one receiving the intervention and the other receiving treatment as usual. After 3 and 6 months all the individuals in the intervention group had retained their housing. All but one of the people in the control group remained homeless and that person only got accomodation by becoming involved in prostitution. The results of the study were so dramatic that the control group was immediately discontinued with all the participants receiving the intervention.

Forchuk, C. ... [et al] - Developing and testing an intervention to prevent homelessness among individuals discharged from psychiatric wards to shelters and 'no fixed address' Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing September 2008, 15(7), 569-575

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