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Mental Disorders and Homelessness

Mental disorders can emerge from drug dependency or addiction; paranoia or schizophrenia; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (combat-related and other); neurocognitive deficits; domestic abuse, as well as other types of mental disorders. About 15 percent of people with extreme mental illness were homeless over one year in California (Smartt et al., 2019). Sadly, homelessness is known to be common to persons with some mental disorders, like paranoia.

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According to what I have found, addictive disorders (substance abuse) disrupt relationships between individuals with families and friends and cause addicts to lose their jobs. However, in other cases, substance abuse is a product of homelessness rather than a cause of it. Homeless people often resort to drugs and alcohol to deal with their circumstances by trying to attain momentary respite from their problems. Nevertheless, drug abuse aggravates their issues and limits their efforts to attain job stability and leave the streets.

On the other hand, people who have schizophrenia or psychosis are more likely to detach from everybody else and go to the streets. It is because the disease causes a big effect on all the hopes, aspirations, and plans of those suffering from it. A common aspect of the disorder is scary hallucinations and delusions. The individual can hear voices trying to persuade them that the people who care about and love them are conspiring against them (Perry & Craig, 2015). Therefore, it is understandable why individuals with schizophrenia sometimes isolate and disconnect from interactions with others. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) find themselves on the streets and away from their loved ones because of disturbing events that they experienced at a certain period in time. These events may include serious threats, injury, or even losing someone through death. Smartt et al. (2019) say that this is why most military veterans suffering from PSTD find themselves homeless. It is because of all the horrifying events that these soldiers experience on the battlefield.

Another disturbing factor is a growing awareness of the cognitive effects of socio-economic disadvantages, such as diminished learning and regional development of the skills required for academic, professional, and independent success in adulthood. Consequently, impaired neurocognition will lead to the persistence of poverty through generations, which leads to homelessness among families. Domestic violence experience is another issue that is widespread among teenagers, unmarried adults, and families who become homeless. For many, this is the direct consequence of their homelessness. Safety is the urgent need for a victim escaping abuse. As a result, most of these sufferers are forced to escape by ending their relationships and abandoning their homes. Some survivors can remain comfortably at home with financial help through rental assistance. In contrast, others may need to stay in transitional housing facilities until they re-enter their separate housing (Smartt et al., 2019). The most affected by these conditions are children who lack security at home; they opt to go onto the streets.

However, the one thing that made me unhappy is the negative perceptions people have against the homeless. I hope they understand that homelessness is not a choice. Many homeless individuals are forced to live on the sidewalks because of being evicted or having lost their homes in a financial meltdown. Others are driven into homelessness because of mental illness or addictions. These negative opinions cause stigma and prejudice, which result in hurting the homeless and making it hard for them to reconnect with their families.


Smartt, C., Prince, M., Frissa, S., Eaton, J., Fekadu, A., & Hanlon, C. (2019). Homelessness and severe mental illness in low- and middle-income countries: Scoping review. BJPsych Open, 5(4), e57. Web.

Perry, J., & Craig, T. K. J. (2015). Homelessness and mental health. Trends in Urology & Men’s Health, 6(2), 19−21. Web.

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