Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 396-401

First online:

Risk factors for homelessness among people with psychotic disorders

  • S. M. OdellAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science, University of Leeds, 15 Hyde Terrace, Leeds, LS29LT UK
  • , M. J. CommanderAffiliated withUniversity of Birmingham and Academic unit, Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust, 71 Fentham Rd, Erdington, Birmingham B236AL UK

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Background: Although it is widely accepted that rates of severe mental illness amongst single homeless people are high, little is known about the reasons these individuals become homeless. This study aimed to identify risk factors for homelessness among people with psychotic disorders. Methods: A matched case-control study of homeless and never homeless people with psychotic disorders was carried out, with respondents recruited from mental health services (N = 39 pairs). Data were collected by semi-structured interviews and from medical records. Results: A number of social and behavioural risk factors were identified; key factors being loss of contact with childhood carers, and substance use. Clinical and service use factors appeared less important as predictors of homelessness. Conclusions: Mental health services have a limited role in circumventing homelessness among people with psychotic disorders. An integrated approach involving other key agencies is required.