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Saol Project

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Saol Project

Mission Statement
Saol is a community project focused on improving the lives of women affected by addiction and poverty

Vision Statement
Saol is working towards transforming the way in which Ireland responds to addiction and poverty.

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ARCHway:  In summary, the research highlighted the following

A: Accommodation

34% of the respondents of this research are homeless or in unstable accommodation, with 27% being in their current accommodation for less than 1 year.

However, those who have stability in their accommodation have it for extended periods with 62% of respondents in the same accommodation for more than 5 years. 

“I’m paying extra from my social welfare and left with just €60 for my daughter and myself to keep safe and get food.”

The quality of that accommodation was not asked for in detail; but 56% of respondents said that their current accommodation was not suitable for their recovery and 48% saying that their accommodation was unsafe.

“It's affecting my recovery, it’s horrible, landlord won't fix anything”.

A number of the questions related to respondents’ understanding of the local authority housing system. Discovering that 3/4 of the respondents are on the local authority housing list.  Half are on for more than 5 years; and when asked about their band system, 15% said that they did not know where they were on that system and a further 13% said they are banded as ‘homeless’.

“Have no understanding of it since it all got changed.”

More than 2/3 of respondents (68%) said that they did not understand the housing system or the information that they were given; and 76% said that they did not get information on the issues they asked about.

“They’re always in at Sean McDermott Street, but there’s never any good news, the list is at stand still”

Finally, only 11% said that their accommodation was near their treatment centre; 49% of respondents live with someone who is also (at various stages) in recovery ; and 1/3 of people believe that they live with others that do not understand the process of recovery that they are going through.

R: Relationships

Respondents were asked about their contact with friends, family and partners.; how much conflict there was in those relationships; and, following Miller’s criteria for healthy relationships for women, were asked if they felt these relationships were mutual, creative, realising, empathetic and empowering.  Finally, all were asked if the relationships were a trigger for relapse.

The results show an interesting mix of thoughts about the same relationships:

On friends:  While one quarter of respondents (25%) were in daily contact with friends, 31% are only in contact with friends once a week.  A further 24% are in contact with friends on a maximum of 2 days per week.

More than half of respondents say their relationships with friends are mutual, creative, realising, empathetic and empowering.  Very small numbers record friendships as never being these qualities.

While friendships are generally described as conflict free,15% say there is conflict every day and 25% of people marked 10 on a scale when asked if friends were triggers for relapse.

On families: 22% have daily contact with families and 22% have no contact.

Scores for families on Jean Miller’s qualities for relationships are lower than for friends but respondents were more likely to say that families were ‘sometimes’ these qualities.  Only 6% say there is daily conflict with families and 45% say there is no conflict with them.  Only 17% scored family as a 10 for ‘trigger for relapse.

On partners: 65% of respondents (n=32) have partners with 81% of them having daily contact with them.  Higher percentages were critical of their partners in terms of Miller’s criteria for good relationships with 1/4 saying relationships with their partner was not ‘realising’; however, more than half of respondents said their relationship with their partner was always mutual, creative, etc.

52% said their partner was not a trigger for relapse and only 7% said their partner scored 7/10 for being a trigger for relapse.  Therefore, relationships with a partner is, according to our respondents, the least likely relationship to cause relapse.

C: As in hepatitis C

As the group were involved with the development of IC2, it is not surprising that we wanted to know more about Hep C among our respondents.  We decided also to ask about HIV and other STIs..

78% know someone (which might include themselves) who have Hep C; 34% feel that they know enough about Hep C and could give advice about it.  However, 22% said they knew ’no much’ or nothing about it.  That figure of 22% was consistent throughout the ‘knowledge about’ Hep C questions (but increased to 37% when asked about ‘Support and Hep C’); alternatively, figures for good knowledge about treatment for Hep C (24%), support for Hep C (24%) and stigma and Hep C (37%) are also recorded. Our Word Cloud gives a perspective on most common associations with Hepatitis C.

Briefly, 65% of respondents know someone (possibly themselves) with HIV and 38% know someone (possibly themselves) with an STI.  Knowing a lot and feeling able to give advice on the matter was higher for HIV (31%)and lower for STIs (26%).

H: Health (Mental)

82% of respondents know someone with a mental health issue, (that someone may be themselves0.  Nearly 2/3 feel able to give advice on the issue (63%) with only 10% saying that they know nothing about mental health.

Some confusion seemed apparent when the terminology was changed to knowing about Mental Illness, with only 50% saying that they knew a lot and 12% saying that they knew nothing about it.

Between 33% and 40% said they know enough about treatment, support and stigma in relation to mental health to advise others. However, the numbers who knew ‘not much’ or ‘nothing’ on the same three issues started to increase with 25% not knowing much or nothing about treatment; 38% not knowing much or nothing about support for mental health; and 28% rating the same way on the issue of stigma and mental health.

Our word cloud indicates that the word ‘depression’ was the word most mentioned when ‘one word’ was asked for about mental illness.

One final comment made by one of the respondents seems a fitting way to end this summary of our findings:

“We need more services for mental health and addiction; we need a holistic centre while on HCV treatment. We need to have a lot more information sessions on all health issues discussed above.”

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