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Current issues in disability, homelessness and mental health services

It is important to assess individual needs rather than make assumptions based on a person’s current circumstances, consider individual preferences and facilitate recovery by matching individual needs with the most appropriate environment.

It is essential that clinical services, housing services and disability support services, including those provided by non-government organisations, should be better coordinated in order to more successfully meet individuals’ varied and complex needs. It is important also that the person’s family and carers are included in the process.

Departments responsible for housing and health should work together to develop a range of secure and stable accommodation options, with both flexible and outreach support to meet the various and changing needs of people with multiple needs.

It is important that those people at risk of homelessness, broadly defined as social alienation not necessarily as being without shelter, are identified early and strategies developed to prevent deterioration in their social and economic functioning.

Active case management is very important for people who have been repeatedly hospitalised for mental illness. As these people are likely to be inadequately supported by the community, they frequently experience a recurring pattern of discharge and re-admission to hospital.  The greater the severity of a person’s mental illness, the greater is the need for a case management approach to continuing care. This care extends also to the families and carers of the mentally ill.

The need to develop a framework for future management and funding of these programs is the key to sustaining and improving the level of community provisions.

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