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Health Soc Work. 1994 Feb;19(1):37-45.

Physical health, mental health, and substance abuse problems of shelter users.

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Project WINS, Grand Rapids, MI.


This article summarizes physical health, mental health, and substance abuse problems of users of four of Detroit's largest homeless shelters. Shelter users with mental illness or substance abuse problems were compared with those without these problems. Alcohol abusers were significantly more likely to have low blood pressure, symptoms of liver disease, and a tuberculosis treatment history. No health differences were found for those with or without a history of psychiatric hospitalization. Contrary to expectations, few gender differences were found. Aside from the obvious need for low-income housing, comprehensive and integrated treatment approaches from health care, mental health, and substance abuse agencies are needed to help homeless individuals. Social workers need to become more directly involved in service and policy issues for this vulnerable population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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