The population with mental illness has faced many changes in the services provided to them throughout the years. And fortunately, in recent years there has been many progressions in the field that have made the services even better. This transformation all began with the gradual process of closing mental health hospitals and the opening of community based alternatives, otherwise known as deinstitutionalization (Brunt & Hansson, 2002, p. 611). The main objective of the deinstitutionalization movement was to create more humane services for the individuals with mental illness (Searight& Handal, 1987, p. 8). Through this process one of the community based alternatives created were group homes. Group homes can be described as a residential housing option for individuals with mental illness that provides: • 24/7 staffing, • Food preparation, • Medication management, • Help with financial budgeting, • Behavioral programming, • Activities, • Transportation and • Help with scheduling doctor appointments Group homes have been evaluated for their effectiveness and how they have impacted the population with mental illness. Multiple studies have been conducted to see if group homes are effective in creating a more humane way of providing services, if they are a cost effective or if they have impacted quality of life. Of those studies many of them have shown positive effects. Some of those areas being: • Decreased rates of hospitalization (Husted & Wentler, 2006; Rhoades & McFarland, 2000), • Cost effectiveness (Rhoades & McFarland, 2000), • Increase in interpersonal relationships and independent choices (Nelson, Hall & Walsh-Bowers, 1997) and • Increased life satisfaction (Salokangas, Honkonen, Strengard& Kovivisto, 2006)Even though these studies have indicated and strongly suggest that group homes can be helpful and beneficial to the individuals with mental illness, there is still a missing piece that is unknown. How, why or what it is about the service that is helpful to the residents that is creating decreased rates of hospitalizations? How do the consumers find these services helpful? So that leads to the research question:From a consumer’s perspective: What is it about the group homes that are helpful to this population in maintaining good mental health?


Nancy Fitzsimons

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Document Type

Other Capstone Project


Social Work


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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