Our Key Achievements and Findings
We interviewed 121 current Llamau service users aged 16-24 in a first wave of data collection. In the second wave, which took place 8 - 12 months later, we re-interviewed 82 service users. Then during the final third wave, 75 members of the sample were interviewed again.
As mentioned previously, the research has highlighted that the prevalence of psychiatric disorder in young people with experiences of homelessness is high (87.8%) and considerably higher than that reported for the same age group in the general population (32.3%) (Hodgson et al., 2014). Despite such high prevalence, only 31.3% of the young people interviewed had accessed any form of mental health service (Hodgson et al., 2014). These findings indicated to Llamau that more needed to be done to support young people experiencing mental health problems, particularly as such problems are likely to impact on a person’s quality of life. Mental illness has been shown to make completing tasks necessary to cope with and move on from homelessness more difficult (Rhodes & Jason 1990, Shelton, Taylor, Bonner & van den Bree, 2010). Llamau therefore developed a bespoke mental health screening tool. This tool helps staff in the early identification of mental health issues amongst service users, allowing staff to make informative referrals and fast track access to support for service users. Staff at Llamau have found using the mental health screening tool helpful in terms of:
• Engaging Service Users in talking about mental health.
• Asking direct questions has meant that Service Users have been able to respond honestly about the types of issues that they are experiencing.
• Identifying areas that had not been previously recognised by health professionals, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
• Obtaining information about the impact that mental health issues are having on individuals, which assists with developing a support package and helps provide GPs and mental health services with as much information as possible.
• Being able to track changes in mental health over time.
In addition to the screening tool, Llamau has also been able to improve staff training on mental health issues. The training has increased the confidence of staff to advocate on the service user's behalf to ensure they have access to the right mental health services and to help them self-manage their mental health. Llamau’s Specialist Mental Health Workers have also developed service user workshops to help young people better cope with and manage their mental health.
A review of the literature was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Reference: Hodgson, K. J., Shelton, K. H., Van Den Bree, M. B., & Los, F. J. (2013). Psychopathology in Young People Experiencing Homelessness: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Public Health 103(6) e24-e37. (Accessible here).
Another research paper was published in July 2014 discussing the findings of the SEYHoPe project regarding the prevalence of psychiatric disorder among service users. Reference: Hodgson, K. J., Shelton, K. H. & Van Den Bree, M. B, (2014) Mental health problems in young people with experiences of homelessness and the relationship with health service use: a follow-up study. Evidence Based Mental Health, www.dx.doi.org/10.1136/eb-2014-101810. (Accessible here).
A further paper has since been published discussing the longitudinal mental health outcomes for different subgroups of young homeless people. Reference: Hodgson, K. J., Shelton, K. H. & Van Den Bree, M. B, (2015) Psychopathology among young homeless people: Longitudinal mental health outcomes for different subgroups. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. (Acessible here).
The Project Process