Yesterday at Dublin City Hall, Dr Austin O’Carroll chaired the launch of the report, Homelessness: an Unhealthy State, by the Partnership for Health Equity. Brendan Mills who leads our Homeless Initiative training attended the launch and thought that some of the findings illustrate the extent of the problem. He was particularly struck by the figure that one in three homeless service users in the large sample have attempted suicide and almost half of the sample (46.9%) reported family and relationship problems as well as domestic violence as the main reason they ended up as homeless.
One consideration which was not looked at in this report is the enormous impact that the current homelessness crisis is having on front line staff. There is considerable international evidence that engaging in crisis intervention work is highly traumatic for staff (Kinder & Cooper, 2009). Suicidal rates among service users are up to 10 times higher than the general population (Desai, Liu-Mares, Dausey, and Rosenheck, 2003). Staff welfare and well being is central to delivering a sustainable response within this sector.
You can read the report here.