The role of social connection and loneliness in the wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness and substance use

Healthcare > Wellness6/4/2024 3:30 AM

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Presented by Dr Marlee Bower (The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, The University of Sydney) and Carlos Duarte (clinical psychologist, Haymarket Foundation Drug and Alcohol Service)

Dr Marlee Bower is a Research Fellow at the Matilda Centre who is interested in the broader social determinants of mental health, particularly in understanding loneliness and isolation amongst marginalised individuals and how this relates to the built environment. Marlee will be presenting findings from her PhD research, completed in 2019, which examined the experience of loneliness amongst Australians with lived experience of homelessness. Prior to working at the Matilda Centre, Marlee worked in government research and strategy in prison and homelessness settings.

Mr Carlos Duarte is a clinical psychologist who has been working at the Haymarket Foundation AOD Counselling Service in inner-city Sydney for almost 20 years. Carlos generally sees 95 clients in a year, the majority of whom are in recovery. Approximately half have issues with alcohol, followed by methamphetamine use. The service is free to disadvantaged people who have co-occurring AOD and mental health issues including people who are homeless, Indigenous, from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, those leaving custodial sentences, people who have experienced violence and those from gender and sexually diverse communities. The benchmarking for the service’s PREMS (‘Yes’) survey – a requirement for all AOD services – exceeds all those of the Department of Health.

This webinar will provide participants with an understanding of:

  • The prevalence of substance use and loneliness amongst people experiencing homelessness

  • How loneliness impacts the wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness

  • Risk and protective factors for loneliness amongst people experiencing homelessness

  • How AOD services can help people experiencing homelessness and co-occurring loneliness or substance use


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Matilda Centre

Matilda Centre

The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use is a multidisciplinary research centre committed to improving the health and wellbeing of people affected by co-occurring substance use and mental disorders. Our research aims to increase the knowledge base around the effective prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders. We offer a range of training programs and resources for clinicians, schools and the general public, designed to facilitate knowledge exchange around mental health and substance use.