International literature suggests that the provision of permanent housing and support are important factors in supporting consumer recovery. Although the evidence on supported housing is well developed in the international context, it is still in its infancy in Australia.
14th International Mental Health Conference being held at the Outrigger Surfers Paradise 5th-6th of August 2013 welcomes Dr Shannon McDermott, Lecturer at the University of New South Wales who will be delivering a presentation which adds to the evidence base around supported housing by presenting the latest research on the New South Wales Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative (HASI).
Research examined ten years of longitudinal administrative data to compare changes in outcomes before and during the HASI program. Administrative data was collected on hospital service use and clinical measures including the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10), Health of the Nation Outcome Scale (HoNOS), and the Life Skills Profile (LSP16). The research also examined administrative data to examine tenancy stability.
Results showed consumers experienced substantial reductions in hospital service use and improvements in mental health outcomes. Overall, there was a statistically significant decrease in mental health admissions to hospital and a 68% decrease in the average number of days hospitalised per admission. Further analysis showed a statistically significant increase in life skills and a decrease in distress and behavioural problems.
Dr McDermott will detail these findings during her presentation which mirrors international research and suggests that supported housing continues to be a worthwhile investment in the Australian context and will discuss future challenges facing supported housing in Australia.
Dr Shannon McDermott is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She conducts research in the fields of mental health, homelessness and ageing, with a particular focus on how people with complex needs are supported by the service system.