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Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Mentally Ill Homeless Person

Edited by Paulette Marie Gillig, M.D., Ph.D., and Hunter L. McQuistion, M.D.
American Association of Community Psychiatrists

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-251-1
  • Item #62251

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A case-based, clinical guide applicable to a variety of settings, this book offers evidence-based expert advice on the difficult challenges inherent in working with underserved homeless populations. The American Association of Community Psychiatrists' Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Mentally Ill Homeless Person is a concise, practical work that gives busy clinicians the information they need; it not only is more up-to-date than existing publications, but also offers case- and site-based content that provides more hands-on, practical advice. Written by clinicians, for clinicians, it offers approaches to therapy and rehabilitation from the vantage point of the treatment environment, from street to housing and everything in between.

The book reflects approaches to the clinical care of homeless people refined over two decades, building not only on the work of academic research but more importantly on the firsthand experience of clinicians. Its organization by treatment setting or specific subpopulation allows readers quick access to the chapters most relevant to their work. The first five chapters follow a sequence of naturalistic settings—such as shelters and the work of Assertive Community Treatment Teams—that demonstrate a model of engagement, intensive care, and ongoing rehabilitation. Subsequent chapters define specific scenarios that depict patients at various points on the engagement-rehabilitation continuum. Each chapter contains a clinical case example; guides to differential diagnosis, treatment planning, and accessing entitlements; and a flow chart for rehabilitation, including opportunities for student/resident or community involvement. The book emphasizes:

  • A real-world orientation that provides a nuts-and-bolts approach to such cases as families, homeless children, veterans—even individuals in rural settings.
  • Cases that enable readers to follow the progress of individuals as they progress through the network of care.
  • The importance of Assertive Community Treatment and housing first models of rehabilitation.
  • Data supporting the importance of Critical Time Intervention, particularly with regard to homeless families.
  • Examples of clinical interviewing techniques for engagement and treatment of challenging individuals who are being seen in community settings. These illustrated techniques can be incorporated into educational curricula.

This is an indispensable resource for any mental health professional working with homeless populations and is also useful for medical students' clinical rotation in community psychiatric settings. Its examples of clinically engaging the homeless person are equally instructive for teaching interviewing skills to any professionals—whether in law enforcement, social work, substance abuse treatment, or the clergy—who encounter these forgotten members of society.


  • Contributors
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1. Mental illness and homelessness: an introduction
  • Chapter 2. General concepts of outreach and engagement
  • Chapter 3. Single adults in shelters
  • Chapter 4. Families in shelters
  • Chapter 5. Assertive community treatment
  • Chapter 6. Housing
  • Chapter 7. Mobile crisis teams
  • Chapter 8. Psychiatric emergency services
  • Chapter 9. Psychiatric inpatient settings
  • Chapter 10. Primary care settings
  • Chapter 11. Homeless children
  • Chapter 12. Jails and prisons
  • Chapter 13. Homeless veterans
  • Chapter 14. Rural settings
  • Afterword
  • Index


    Paulette Marie Gillig, M.D., Ph.D. (editor)
    Hunter L. McQuistion, M.D. (editor)
    Ralph Aquila, M.D.
    Brian D. Bronson, M.D.
    Florence Coleman, M.D.
    Jennifer Dempster, L.P.C.C., L.I.C.D.C.
    Lisa Dixon, M.D.
    Neil Falk, M.D.
    Alan Felix, M.D.
    Avrim Fishkind, M.D.
    Julie P. Gentile, M.D.
    Stephen M. Goldfinger, M.D.
    Ann Hackman, M.D.
    John Kelleher
    H. Richard Lamb, M.D.
    Ann Morrison, M.D.
    David Nardacci, M.D.
    Anthony T. Ng, M.D.
    Fred Osher, M.D.
    Elizabeth Oudens, M.D.
    Anne M. Piette, L.M.S.W.
    Erik Roskes, M.D.
    Judith Samuels, Ph.D.
    Randie Schacter, D.O.
    Manoj Shah, M.D.
    Thomas Sweet
    Scott Zeller, M.D.

About the Authors

Paulette Marie Gillig, M.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Boonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Hunter L. McQuistion, M.D., is Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York.

Drs. Gillig and McQuiston address a growing need not previously served by a single volume. In this book, they have brought together a group of experts who cover a wide range of relevant issues. The Clinical Guide is conceptual in overview, practical in application and lucid in expression. It will be of immense value to those who work with this population.—David Bienenfeld, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio

Coming more than ten years after the publication of Treating the Homeless Mentally Ill, the Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Mentally Ill Homeless Person is a welcome compilation of the latest strategic and programmatic approaches to working successfully with these challenging individuals. The Clinical Guide is strengthened because it is truly clinical: each chapter is illustrated by one or more cases that bring the material to life, conveying the reality of the need for artful clinical engagement and programmatic persistence in helping these folks to engage in a recovery process. The Clinical Guide is quite comprehensive, as well, with chapters covering a wide variety of topics and settings.—Kenneth Minkoff, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Senior System Consultant, ZiaLogic, Boston, Massachusetts

This guide brings together practitioners who, for the past two decades, have been addressing the needs of mentally ill homeless people. Intended for clinicians, it provides the tools for engagement, treatment, and rehabilitation in a broad array of settings. This well organized compilation of innovative and effective practices will be invaluable not only to psychiatrists, but also to policymakers and to students of public health.—Ezra Susser, M.D., Dr.PH., Gelman Prof & Chair, Dept of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Columbia Univ; Prof of Psychiatry & Dept Head, Epidemiology Brain Disorders, NY State Psychiatric Inst

In this book, Drs. Paulette Marie Gillig and Hunter L. McQuiston have provided an outstanding review of the most recent advances in the clinical treatment of the mentally ill homeless population of the United States.—Pedro Ruiz, M.D., Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, Texas

Gillig, McQuistion, and colleagues offer a valuable reference, especially for students and professionals who are beginning their work with homeless populations. Undoubtedly (in fact, it is my hope) Clinical Guide will be used by many community psychiatry residents, psychiatric nursing students, and mental health professionals who are working with the homeless populations but are new in the field.—PsycCRITIQUES, 3/28/2007

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