Mental Health Problems & Mental Disorders

A significant number of people experiencing homelessness suffer from a range of mental health disorders and problems. These conditions range in severity between those who experience depression, to those recovering from trauma, and those with serious psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and mood disorders. Studies confirm that people experiencing homelessness tend to have poorer mental health and have higher prevalence of mental illnesses than the general population; however, not all people experiencing homelessness have or will ever develop a mental health condition. Yet, for those who do, contrary to the stereotype of the person experiencing homelessness suffering with psychosis, depression and suicidal behaviours are more commonly reported.

The causes of such mental health challenges for people experiencing homelessness can often be traced back to events and circumstances prior to experiencing homelessness as well as current situations and issues. They are likely to have experienced a wide range of hardships, substance use, victimization and trauma. Even when mental health problems are not a direct cause of homelessness, they can reinforce and lengthen the experience of homelessness.1

In their own words: Samuel | Los Angeles, USA

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