Mental Health and Homelessness

Mental Health = a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.

Types of mental illness: schizophrenia, manic depressive/bi-polar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Homeless = without a home, and therefore typically living on the streets.

Mental health causes and effects homelessness in many different ways. Homelessness does cause mental health issues. A lot of people with mental illness result in being homeless due to not having the right mindset. The causes of mental illness and homelessness includes mental disability, illness, and lack of social support through jobs and marriage, increased use of drugs and alcohol and the erosion of low income housing in urban areas.


  • less than 5% of the population suffers from severe mental illness, they comprise an estimated 20-40% of the homeless population.
  • Mentally ill people who are homeless are often arrested for some type of nuisance crime yet those who receive comprehensive community mental health treatment stay in such treatment, remain safely housed, and have an incarceration or homeless rate of less than 2%.
  • 15% had mental health issues BEFORE becoming homeless, while 16% of the sample develop mental health problems AFTER becoming homeless
  • The amount of mentally ill homelessness people is increasing

Schizophrenia a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. About 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness are homeless. That is about one third of the 600,000 homeless population.

Schizophrenia disorder causes people to hear voices other people don't hear. They can believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. People with Schizophrenia can cope without medication throughout their lives. Most treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease because little is known.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health triggered by a terrifying event either witnessed or experienced. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

In conclusion, deinstitutionalization in mental health policy, unemployment, addiction and abuse and urban decay the population of homelessness is increasing. Homeless people have less access to housing, jobs, health care, and basic needs. Due to people not having any health care leads to the prolonging effects of mental health and homelessness. As a result of this, these people isolate themselves and lack social support which limits opportunities for recovery and prevention.

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