Skip to main content

A survey of mental disorder in the long-term, rough sleeping, homeless population of inner Dublin

  • F. Hynes (a1), K. Kilbride (a1) and J. Fenton (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

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.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: F. Hynes, Programme for the Homeless, Phoenix Care Centre, Grangegorman, Dublin, Ireland. (Email:
Hide All
College of Psychiatrists in Ireland (2011). Position Paper EAP02/2011, September 2011.
Dublin Homeless Agency (2007). A Key to the Door, The Homeless Agency Partnership Action Plan on Homelessness in Dublin 2007-2010. The Homeless Agency: Dublin.
Dublin Region Homeless Executive (2014). About rough sleeping. Dublin Regional Homeless Executive: Dublin (http:/ Accessed 8 January 2014.
European Commission (2014). Commission Staff Working Document: Confronting Homelessness in the European Union. European Commission: Brussels (2013) ( Accessed 20 December 2014.
Fazel, S, Geddes, J, Kushel, M (2014). The health of homeless people in high-income countries: descriptive epidemiology, health consequences, and clinical and policy recommendations. The Lancet 384, 15291540.
Holohan, T, Holohan, W (2000). Health and homelessness in Dublin. Irish Medical Journal 93, 4143.
World Health Organisation (1992). ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders: Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Guidelines. WHO: Geneva.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0790-9667
  • EISSN: 2051-6967
  • URL: /core/journals/irish-journal-of-psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 279
Total number of PDF views: 27 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 149 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 28th May 2018 - 14th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.