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    Socioeconomic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic for Veterans with psychosis or recent homelessness

    Health and Social Care in The Community

    Year: 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing have directly impacted the socioeconomic well-being of most Americans. Veterans with psychosis (PSY) and Veterans who were recently housed (RHV) through a supportive housing programme may be especially vulnerable to experiencing negative socioeconomic effects of the pandemic. In this study, we investigated socioeconomic experiences and challenges during the pandemic in these two putatively vulnerable Veteran groups and in Veterans with no history of PSY or homeless (i.e., control Veterans, CTL). A total of 231 Veterans (81 PSY, 76 RHV, 64 CTL) participated in the baseline assessment, and 203 in the follow-up assessment (74 PSY, 63 RHV, 66 CTL). At both assessment points we obtained socioeconomic information, including personal finances, financial concerns, housing concerns, experience of material hardships, and employment status. All groups of Veterans reported socioeconomic challenges during the pandemic, but the pattern of effects differed across groups. Although RHV was in a similar position to the PSY group with respect to personal finances, they reported lower levels of financial well-being and were more prone to experiencing material hardships compared to the other two groups. CTL was most vulnerable to experiencing negative financial shocks. Contrary to expectations, PSY did not experience disproportionate material hardships compared to CTL. Veterans face significant socioeconomic challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, RHV disproportionately experienced certain concerns and hardships, and these are a target for intervention by clinicians and service providers. PSY generally fared better than anticipated, possibly reflecting longstanding engagement with VA services that could serve to buffer the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.

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