February 12, 2015

Mental Health

A large proportion of homeless people are faced with mental health issues. Currently in WA, an estimated 70% of rough sleepers have both mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) issues, and 85% of people seen by the Royal Perth Hospital Homeless Team have both mental health and AOD issues 

Homeless Outreach Dual Diagnosis Service (HODDS) 

Mental health issues can lead to homelessness, but may also result from the trauma of being homeless. Individuals may use alcohol or drugs (AOD) in order to deal with their mental health distress, which in turn creates the complex problem of dual diagnosis. 

Chronic and untreated mental health issues, with concurrent AOD use affects the individuals ability to be offered and retain housing. Consequently, homeless individuals commonly present to hospital in crisis, which places a massive economic burden on the health service. 

The HODDS team comprises of a Mental Health and AOD trained Doctor and nurse. The team works alongside the Homeless healthcare GP practice in established clinics. This integrated approach between primary care and specialist MH/AOD care works effectively to manage MH/AOD issues in the community, thereby reducing costly hospital admissions.