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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Meeting their needs? : the social supports of mentally ill single room occupancy (SRO) hotel residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Sadiq, Kareem Dilshad


This thesis examines the social supports of low-income mentally ill residents in a Downtown Eastside Vancouver single room occupancy (SRO) hotel. The hotel, known as The Carrall, is operated as a supported living residence for people with a history of mental illness. The hotel employs mental health workers who provide a variety of social supports to the residents. In addition, the residents seek out social support at other area mental health agencies: The Burrard drop-in centre, The Main drop-in centre, and the Downtown Eastside Mental Health Team. This thesis seeks to understand how residents and mental health workers interpret the benefits of social support. The analysis is performed in the context of the strengths assessment (SA) model, an empowerment oriented model of mental health rehabilitation. Empowerment models encourage the mentally ill to self-determine their service interventions and reduce their reliance on mental health professionals and mental health agencies. The SA model identifies six life domains that require social support interventions: 1) Health; 2) Daily living routines; 2) Friendship supports; 3) Leisure and Recreational Activities; 4) Finances; and 6) Employment and Vocational Training. The findings of this thesis indicate that the residents' and the mental health workers' interpretations of social support are congruent for some supports and incongruent for others. The degree to which social supports meet or do not meet the needs of residents is a measure of the functioning level of the residents, insufficient agency resources, and a lack of resident involvement in the decisions that affect them. Due to the constraints of the mental health agencies in this study, the empowerment approach to mental health rehabilitation has met with little success.

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