Unmet needs of persons with a severe and persistent mental illness and their relationship to unmet accommodation needs

Anton N Isaacs, Alison Beauchamp, Keith Sutton, Darryl Maybery
Health & Social Care in the Community 2019 March 7
This is a cross-sectional study of unmet needs of persons enrolled in Australia's Partners in Recovery (PIR) initiative. It aimed to explore the unmet needs reported by persons with a severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) and to examine the associations between unmet accommodation needs and other unmet needs. The study was undertaken in the Gippsland region of Victoria from February to May 2015. Data were collected from the administrative database for the PIR initiative in Gippsland, which was held by the Gippsland Primary Health Network. Data on unmet needs, as measured by the Camberwell Assessment of Needs Short Appraisal Schedule, were analysed using proportions and logistic regression. Psychological distress, daytime activities, company/someone to spend time with and employment and volunteering were the most commonly reported unmet needs. Participants with unmet accommodation needs were less likely to receive information on their condition or access other services. They also had unmet needs relating to food, money, transport, childcare, looking after home, physical health, psychological distress and self-care. Supported accommodation may not be enough for persons with SPMI who have poor functioning skills and are incapable of looking after themselves. Services such as Housing First that have shown promising results need to be part of a comprehensive strategy to care for persons with severe and enduring mental illness.

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