Collaborative mental health care for the homeless: The role of psychiatry in positive housing and mental health outcomes

Vicky Stergiopoulos, Carolyn S Dewa, Katherine Rouleau, Shawn Yoder, Nancy Chau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: Factors associated with positive outcomes for homeless men referred to a shelter-based collaborative mental health care team were examined. Method: A chart review of 73 clients referred over 12 months was completed. Two outcome measures were examined, clinical status and housing status, 6 months after their referral to the program. Result: Among the referred clients, the prevalence of severe and persistent mental illness and substance use disorders was 76.5% and 48.5%, respectively. At 6 months, 24 clients (35.3%) had improved clinically, and 33 (48.5%) were housed. Logistic regression identified 2 factors associated with clinical improvement: the number of visits with a psychiatrist and treatment adherence. The same 2 factors were associated with higher odds of housing, and presence of substance use disorder was associated with lower odds of housing at 6-month follow-up. Conclusion: Care by a mental health specialist is positively associated with improved outcomes. Strategies to improve treatment adherence, access to mental health specialists, and innovative approaches to treatment of substance use disorders should be considered for this population. Having a psychiatrist as a member of a shelter-based collaborative care team is one possible way of addressing the complex physical and mental health needs of homeless individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Collaborative mental health care
  • Homelessness
  • Shared care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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