Homelessness causes huge distress to a vulnerable population and great concern to wider society. The aim of this study was to reflect the prevalence of mental disorder within a subset of the homeless population in Dublin.
Long-term rough sleepers in Dublin were identified by the relevant non-statutory agency (Dublin Simon Community’s Rough Sleepers Team). The authors attempted to assess all the identified individuals employing traditional clinical methods.
We managed to assess 16 of the 22 identified individuals. We detected no formal disorder in ~30%, severe mental illness in ~30% and either alcohol or substance misuse in another ~30%. We detected dual diagnosis (co-occurrence of severe mental illness and alcohol or substance misuse) in 10%.
Most but not all long-term rough sleepers in Dublin had a formal mental disorder identified. Just under one-third had a severe mental illness. This suggests that individualised patient centred health and social care will be required on a case by case basis in the long-term rough sleeping population.
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