PUBLI : Honor Scarlett et al., « Depression during the COVID-19 pandemic amongst residents of homeless shelters in France », Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, 2021


Accu­mu­la­ting evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has nega­ti­vely affected global mental health and well-being. However, the impact amongst home­less persons has not been fully evaluated. The ECHO study reports factors asso­ciated with depres­sion amongst the home­less popu­la­tion living in shel­ters in France during the spring of 2020.

Inter­view data were collected from 527 parti­ci­pants living in tempo­rary and/​or emer­gency accom­mo­da­tion follo­wing Fran­ce’s first lock­down (02/​05/​20 – 07/​06/​20), in the metro­po­litan regions of Paris (74%), Lyon (19%) and Stras­bourg (7%). Inter­views were conducted in French, English, or with inter­pre­ters (33% of parti­ci­pants, ∼20 languages). Presence of depres­sion was ascer­tained using the Patient Health Ques­tion­naire (PHQ‑9).

Amongst ECHO study parti­ci­pants, 30% had symp­toms of mode­rate to severe depres­sion (PHQ‑9 ≥ 10). Multi­va­riate analysis revealed depres­sion to be asso­ciated with being female (aOR : 2.15 ; CI : 1.26–3.69), single (aOR : 1.60 ; CI : 1.01–2.52), chro­ni­cally ill (aOR : 2.32 ; CI : 1.43 : 3.78), facing food inse­cu­rity (aOR : 2.12 ; CI : 1.40–3.22) and parti­ci­pants’ region of origin. Persons born African and Eastern Medi­ter­ra­nean regions showed higher levels of depres­sion (30–33% of parti­ci­pants) than those migra­ting from other Euro­pean coun­tries (14%). Reduced rates of depres­sion were observed amongst parti­ci­pants aged 30–49 (aOR : 0.60 ; CI : 0.38–0.95) and over 50 (aOR : 0.28 ; CI : 0.13–0.64), compared to 18–29-year-olds.

These data are cross-sectional, only provi­ding infor­ma­tion on a given moment in time.

Our results indi­cate high levels of depres­sion amongst home­less persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Predicted future insta­bi­lity and economic reper­cus­sions could parti­cu­larly impact the mental health of this vulne­rable group.

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