"We Die 25 Years Sooner:" Addressing Physical Health Among Persons with Serious Mental Illness in Supportive Housing

Community Ment Health J. 2021 Jan 1. doi: 10.1007/s10597-020-00752-y. Online ahead of print.


People diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) experience significant health disparities, including high rates of premature mortality. Supportive housing may serve as a critical service setting for addressing physical health, but comprehensive health-related services within these programs remain an exception. This study sought to identify barriers, and potential solutions, to addressing the physical health needs of people with SMI within supportive housing. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted with multiple stakeholders (clients, peer specialists, non-peer staff, leadership) across three supportive housing agencies. There was general consensus regarding multiple barriers at the individual, organizational, policy/system, and community levels. Nevertheless, stakeholders also identified strategies in domains such as staffing, organizational culture, partnerships, communication, and infrastructure for addressing barriers. These findings can inform planning for implementation of health initiatives within supportive housing while also highlighting the need for broader community, systems, and policy change.Trial Registration Number: NCT02175641.

Keywords: Implementation Challenges; Mental Illness; Physical Health; Supportive Housing.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02175641