, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 261-274

Outreach to homeless mentally ill people: Conceptual and clinical considerations

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This paper describes a model of outreach predicated on developing a trusting, meaningful relationship between the outreach worker and the homeless person with mental illness. We describe five common tasks inherent in this model of outreach (establishing contact and credibility, identifying people with mental illness, engaging clients, conducting assessments and treatment planning, and providing ongoing service). Other issues discussed include: (a) Responding to dependency needs and promoting autonomy; (b) setting limits while maintaining flexibility; (c) resistance to mental health treatment and follow-up service options.

Dr. Morse is with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, and Community Alternatives; Mr. Miller, Mr. Rosenberg, are with Community Alternatives; Dr. Calsyn is with the University of Missouri-St. Louis; Ms. West is with the Adapt Institute, and Ms. Gilliland is with the St. Mary's Health Center.
The authors would like to thank a number of individuals who contributed useful suggestions about outreach for this paper, including Vince Estrada, Steve Laffoon, Gitry Hydebrand, Linda Harmann, James Steffen, Loretta Haggard, Susan Morse, Christy Estrada, Chris Lhotak, Lou Kimmell, and Fred Osher. We also appreciated the editorial and word processing assistance provided by Dorothy Gano and Marnice McLean.