A Place to Call Home: Hearing the Perspectives of People Living with Homelessness and Mental Illness Through Service Evaluation
O’Donovan, J., Russell, K., Kuipers, P., Siskind, D. & Elphinston, R.
ABSTRACT: There is an ongoing need to incorporate the perspectives of people in supported community housing to improve the provision of integrated mental health services. This study aimed to explore the satisfaction and experiences of people who have received supported housing and mental health services. We conducted a retrospective, mixed methods study using a data mining approach, analyzing consumer satisfaction survey responses collected on discharge from the service over a 7-year period. Responses from 178 consumers aged between 20 and 62 years were included. Quantitative results indicated that consumers rated the quality of services as relatively high. Analysis of qualitative responses identified seven themes describing people’s views on how they had benefitted from the service. Consumers reported benefits in terms of practical and emotional supports, responsiveness of the team to their needs, socialization and community integration, personal growth and recovery, and finding ‘my place’. Themes of learning and skills development were also important. These results suggest that practical support, together with emotional expressions of care and compassion are most valued by people who participated in this service. This research has implications for service evaluation and for future research, which may include focusing on the key role of connectedness, ‘my place’ and hope for recovery.