Home > The effects of COVID-19 on people experiencing mental ill-health, substance use disorder and homelessness or housing Insecurity in the Dublin region: a qualitative exploration.

Kelly, Kathyan (2021) The effects of COVID-19 on people experiencing mental ill-health, substance use disorder and homelessness or housing Insecurity in the Dublin region: a qualitative exploration. Dublin: Merchants Quay Ireland and HSE ACCES.

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This research was carried out between Merchants Quay Ireland and the HSE ACCES programme. The research focusses on the lives of ten participants – five linked in with MQI and five linked in with HSE ACCES – who have experience of a mental health illness, substance use issue and/or homelessness, or any combination of these both before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This qualitative research study aims to explore the psychological effects of changes in service delivery than have ensued as a result of COVID-19 for people in Dublin experiencing mental illness, substance use and/or homelessness or any combination of these. Two services are engaged in the care of and support for this population (Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI) and the HSE ACCES programme (see pp8) have experienced considerable change which has required high levels of flexible adaptation to continue with service provision.


The research focusses on the lives of ten participants – five linked in to MQI and five linked in to HSE ACCES – who have experience of a mental health illness, substance use issue and/or homelessness, or any combination of these both before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first section gives an overview of Irish policy on those issues, as well as the Irish Government’s response to COVID-19 for those with mental health and substance use issues as well as homelessness. The second section documents the methodological approach to the study while the third section provides a brief sociodemographic profile of the participants as well as profile of their mental health, substance use and housing. The fourth section presents the findings of the study – an analysis of the participants lived experience of COVID-19 and the meanings attached by them to that experience in terms of their mental health and well-being. The fifth section places those experiences in the context of relevant research, allowing for the sixth and final, section which provides a conclusion and recommendations based on the input from the study’s participants.

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