Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 207–216

Needs for mental health care and service provision in single homeless people

  • H. J. Salize
  • A. Horst
  • C. Dillmann-Lange
  • U. Killmann
  • G. Stern
  • I. Wolf
  • F. Henn
  • W. Rössler
ORIGINAL PAPER

DOI: 10.1007/s001270170065

Cite this article as:
Salize, H., Horst, A., Dillmann-Lange, C. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2001) 36: 207. doi:10.1007/s001270170065

Abstract

Background: Specific problems in sampling methodology, case-finding strategies and a standardised needs assessment in mentally ill homeless people have contributed to their being neglected as a mental health care clientele. Method: We assessed a representative sample of homeless people (n=102) in the highly industrialised city of Mannheim (Germany) regarding their prevalence of mental disorders (using the SCID) and their needs for mental health care (using the NCA). Results: We found high prevalences, with 68.6 % of all assessed homeless persons having a current mental disorder. Thus, needs for mental health care were very common, with unmet needs predominating in all problem areas, which was supported by a very weak service utilization. Thus, even in a region with a comprehensive community mental health care network, like the study area, mentally ill homeless people are widely under-provided. Conclusions: Results suggest that the traditional shelter system for homeless people carries most of the mental health care burden for their clientele and must be supported by adequate interventions from community-based mental health care services. A closer connection of both sectors and a better co-ordination of the care offers seems to be a prerequisite for helping to reduce unmet mental health care needs in this specific high-risk group.

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. J. Salize
    • 1
  • A. Horst
    • 1
  • C. Dillmann-Lange
    • 1
  • U. Killmann
    • 1
  • G. Stern
    • 1
  • I. Wolf
    • 1
  • F. Henn
    • 1
  • W. Rössler
    • 2
  1. 1.Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, GermanyDE
  2. 2.Psychiatric University Hospital, Zurich, SwitzerlandCH
  3. 3.Mental Health Services Research Unit, Central Institute of Mental Health, J 5, 68 159 Mannheim, Germany Fax: +49-621-1703964 e-mail: salize@as200.zi-mannheim.deDE