Recovery and rehabilitation among formerly homeless individuals with severe mental illness
Housing and Rehabilitation
The Dartmouth-Howard Collaboration and Community Connections,D.C. conducted a research study on housing, rehabilitation, and community integration. The researchers employ quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate the influence of living in relationship-centered residential communities that provides various integrated services in the rehabilitation and recovery of people with severe mental illness.
This presentation reports findings from a study conducted in the context of a partnership between Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, Howard University, and Community Connections, D.C. The Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center has teamed up with Howard University through a research and training center grant funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR RRTC Project Number H133A080063; PI:R. Whitley), and with an existing partnership with the Community Connections in D.C., conducted a research study on housing, rehabilitation, and community integration. This study “Creating Communities”, examines recovery and community integration of individuals with psychiatric disabilities living in “recovery communities” [RCs]. These are supportive housing units run and owned by Community Connections. These communities receive various on and off-site supportive services such as intensive case management, facilitated peer-support and participation in various psychosocial evidence-based practices (EBPs). Funded by SAMSHA to implement these EBPs supportive services, the purpose of Creating Communities project is to assist these individuals find and keep stable housing by providing integrated services embedded in a residential community enriched by professional and peer support. Evidence suggests that housing is one of the most crucial community support services necessary for the recovery and rehabilitation of people living with a mental illness. Stable, affordable housing that provides ongoing support to the person with the mental illness is a vital resource for recovery not just from mental illness, but also from poverty and social exclusion. Without the availability of quality affordable and stable housing, other treatment and rehabilitation approaches are jeopardized. ‘Creating Communities’ examines the implementation and evaluation of these psychosocial evidence-based practices such as Integrated Dual Disorders treatment, Illness Management and Recovery or Supported Employment. The researchers use quantitative and in-depth qualitative methods to evaluate the effect of these services to the recovery of people living in RCs. The quantitative evaluation used participant interviews and clinician rating scales to assess a number of traditional outcome measures, including psychiatric functioning and symptom severity, utilization of emergency room and inpatient services, drug and alcohol use, social connectedness, and housing stability, among others. Preliminary results from the quantitative evaluation suggest that project participants, all of whom met criteria for "chronic homelessness" prior to baseline, experienced very high levels of mental health and housing stability. Through focus groups with RCs residents, we examine the influence of supportive housing and intentional peer support in the rehabilitation of the people living in RCs. Focus groups are conducted at four monthly intervals with residents, facilitating a longitudinal view of their experiences and perspectives on recovery and everyday life in the community. Researchers conduct content analysis of the focus group transcripts to identify themes in the data. Principal areas of analysis include specifying how residents understand the role of the RCs and the integrated services in their recovery. The presentation will explore the influence of the various psychosocial EBPs services from the first-person perspectives of individuals living with psychiatric disabilities and will discuss the relevance of these findings for mental health services and clinical professionals.