Around the world, people of all ages and communities report increasing rates of mental and behavioral health illnesses. For those experiencing chronic homelessness, those mental illnesses are often compounded by chronic medical conditions and substance use disorders. Without safe, permanent housing and access to primary care, those experiencing homelessness – and often hopelessness – miss needed care, wind up in emergency departments and jails, and never receive the social services that may be available to them. In this episode, we learn from nurse Ashley Sharma, RN and physician Tim Mercer, MD, MPH, of the Mobile Medical and Mental Health (M3) Team in Austin, Texas about their high-touch approach to caring for people facing the triple threat of chronic homelessness, medical and mental health conditions, and how – in the face of clinicians wearing down from navigating fragmented health systems and departing the workforce – this collaborative, integrated care approach strengthens a sense of purpose and impact for clinicians.
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