This cross-sectional study sought to establish the prevalence of homelessness amongst inpatients in two psychiatric units in Ireland and explore the perceived relationship between psychiatric illness and homelessness.
The study employed a semi-structured interview format utilising a specifically designed questionnaire which received ethical approval from the Limerick University Hospitals Group ethics committee.
Fifty psychiatric inpatients were interviewed. Fifteen were either “currently” homeless (n = 8) or had experienced “past” homelessness (n = 7). Those who had experienced homelessness were more likely to have a psychotic illness. A majority of those who had experienced homelessness believed that psychiatric illness contributed to their homelessness. Involuntary admission rates were more than double for patients in the homeless group. A number of participants also reported that a lack of accommodation was preventing their discharge.
Homelessness affects a significant number of psychiatric patients and can be both a contributory factor to, and consequence of, mental illness. With homelessness at unprecedented levels, there is a need for the development of tailored programmes aimed at supporting these vulnerable groups.
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Was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Moloney, N., O’Donnell, P., Elzain, M. et al. Homelessness amongst psychiatric Inpatients: a cross-sectional study in the mid-west of Ireland. Ir J Med Sci (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-021-02546-x
- Mental health
- No fixed abode
- Psychiatric illness