NewsHousing First Approach Shows Positive Impact on Mental Health Care

Housing First Approach Shows Positive Impact on Mental Health Care

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A recent analysis of supportive housing programs in Denver, Colorado, has shed light on the effectiveness of the Housing First approach in addressing the needs of unhoused individuals. The study, outlined in an article by researchers Devlin Hanson and Sarah Gillespie in Health Affairs, reveals that prioritizing housing placement before imposing other requirements led to notable improvements in mental health care outcomes and reduced emergency room visits among participants.

Two years after being assigned to the Housing First intervention, participants demonstrated significant changes in health care utilization. On average, they had eight more office-based visits for psychiatric diagnoses, three additional prescription medications, and six fewer emergency department visits compared to the control group. Notably, both groups exhibited no statistically significant difference in mortality rates.

The findings presented by Hanson and Gillespie suggest a correlation between housing programs and improved health care provision. The authors argue that as policymakers explore avenues for increased funding to scale up effective strategies for addressing chronic homelessness, the results provide compelling evidence that supportive housing, especially with a Housing First approach, not only offers a housing solution but also facilitates engagement in essential health care services.

This analysis underscores the potential of innovative housing strategies to not only address homelessness but also positively impact broader societal issues such as mental health care accessibility.

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