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. Whether these ‘dual diagnoses’ are the cause of a person becoming homeless or the result of a person being homeless, mental health issues keep people trapped in the homeless lifestyle.
As part of dealing with the health issues of homeless people, their mental health issues must be addressed.
Homeless Outreach Dual Diagnosis Service (HODDS)
HODDS is an outreach based program designed to provide an integrated approach in order to deliver best practice care to homeless patients with dual diagnosis.
Commencing in February 2019, the HODDS staff consists of a 0.5 FTE psychiatrist with training in addiction medicine and a full-time mental health registered nurse.
In order to enable synergies between HODDS and community mental health treatment, the psychiatrist is also employed 0.5FTE by Inner City Community Mental Health.
The program is coordinated by working within the 13 existing HHC GP clinics, either by managing higher complexity patients until stabilised, or by assisting and advising GPs without taking over their care of the patient.