Home > Homelessness: an unhealthy state. Health status, risk behaviours and service utilisation among homeless people in two Irish cities.

O'Reilly, Fiona and Barror, Suzanne and Hannigan, Ailish and Scriver, Stacey and Ruane, Lynn and McFarlane, Anne and O'Carroll, Austin (2015) Homelessness: an unhealthy state. Health status, risk behaviours and service utilisation among homeless people in two Irish cities. Dublin: The Partnership for Health Equality.

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Key findings from the research include:

Health

  • Almost all respondents had either a diagnosed mental or physical health problem and the majority were also receiving treatment for ill health
  • Mental health issues were very common, with over half reporting a diagnosis of depression. Almost half of the sample had both a mental health problem and an addiction problem
  • More than one third of respondents had self-harmed; three fifths have had suicidal thoughts and more than one third had attempted suicide. Half of those reporting a mental health diagnosis had attempted suicide
  • Compared with the 1997 and 2005 studies, the homeless population has more diagnosed ill health, more are treated with prescribed medication, and more report mental health diagnoses and treatment
  • Overall, there is a higher level of health service utilisation than previous surveys, with most having seen a primary care GP or nurse in the previous six months
  • Half reported having attended specialised (hostel based) health services for homeless people

Health Services

  • Medical card coverage has greatly improved
  • The level of primary care and Emergency Department use has increased
  • Having a key worker meant that there was an increased likelihood of health care access

Addiction

  • Tobacco smoking has become almost universal among this group.
  • Illicit drug use has steadily risen since 1997
  • Rates of dangerous drinking have also increased, particularly among women.
  • The majority of homeless people still attend clinics for Methadone Maintenance Treatment rather than either mainstream primary care services or specialised health services for homeless people
Date:September 2015
Publisher:The Partnership for Health Equality
Place of Publication:Dublin
ISBN:978-1-906218-94-2
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Prevalence of drugs and alcohol use > Problem drugs and alcohol use
A Drugs and alcohol use, abuse, and dependence > Drugs and alcohol effects and consequences
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Tobacco (cigarette smoking)
B Drugs and alcohol substances > Opioids (opiates) > Opioid product > Methadone
G Health and disease > State of health > Mental health
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Alcohol use
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Drug use
MA-ML Social science, culture and community > Social condition > Homelessness
T Demographic characteristics > Homeless person
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Limerick
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland > Dublin

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