Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 261-274

First online:

Outreach to homeless mentally ill people: Conceptual and clinical considerations

  • Gary A. Morse
  • , Robert J. CalsynAffiliated withUniversity of Missouri-St. Louis
  • , Joris Miller
  • , Peter Rosenberg
  • , Lisa West
  • , Jackie Gilliland

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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.