Do you sometimes feel like a hamster on a wheel when you are faced with challenging clients who are hard to stabilize? As much as industry professionals want to stabilize housing for their clients, sometimes we feel like we are on an endless cycle of hospitalization, incarceration, and homelessness.
The cycle of homelessness, incarceration, and hospitalization
Despite efforts to bring mental health illness to the forefront, there is still a stigma that surrounds mental illness. This prevents those in need of proper treatment, often leading to social isolation.
We all strive for ideal mental well-being which is a balance of mental, emotional, and physical health. Caring relationships, a place to call home, and a supportive community contribute to healthy outcomes. However, individuals need the coping skills to deal with a topsy-turvy life.
Individuals diagnosed with a mental illness experience more life stress and a lack of connection with their community.
Homelessness and Mental Illness: The Vicious Cycle
The tell-tale signs of when your client needs Supportive Living
Ask yourself these questions when determining the housing needs of your client. When the following signs are reoccurring, it’s time to consider a Supportive Living housing environment for them:
- Are they repeatedly hospitalized due to an inability to take care of themselves?
- Have there been instances of medication mismanagement?
- Is your client constantly landing in vulnerable situations because a peer group puts them into unsafe predicaments?
- Is your client unable to integrate into society and has made decisions that result in incarceration?
- Does your client become regularly homeless because they lack the life skills to make healthy decisions?
If you can answer “yes” to any of the above questions, it may be time to consider Supportive Living as a housing solution for your client.
The Benefits of Supportive Living
All people deserve housing, and adequate, permanent housing is needed for recovery.
Supportive Living homes follow a harm reduction model of housing. According to Homeless Hub, harm reduction is: " ...an approach or strategy aimed at reducing the risks and harmful effects associated with substance use and addictive behaviors for the individual. It is deemed as a realistic, pragmatic, humane and successful approach to addressing issues that lead to homelessness."
The effectiveness of the harm reduction model helps in the prevention of repeated hospitalization, homelessness and incarceration. A team of professionals set up programs to keep clients stable in a healthy home environment.
However, there are other factors that can lead to destabilization of an individual’s mental health, even within a stable home environment. When considering a Supportive Living residence, it is important that the home has a very strict and comprehensive medication policy because there are challenges with administering medication within the mental health population.
Our next blog will discuss effective medication management in Supportive Living homes.
#support #housing #homelessness #mentalillness
Written by Vishal Chityal, Director, SupportiveLiving.ca