Imagine walking down the street and you pass by a woman who is dressed in dirty clothes, looks like she has not bathed in months and is talking to herself. One would think that this homeless person is suffering from a drug addiction.
Maybe there is an underlying mental health issue that she faces and everyone who passes by just overlooks her as just another homeless drug addicted individual who refuses to work. According to Mentalhealthfirstaid.org, 46.4% of adults in the United States will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
Mental health plays a major factor in homelessness. When someone suffers from a mental illness it can lead them to be withdrawn from family, friends and help. It can also cause a loss of income because they don’t have the capacity to sustain employment. Furthermore, with the lack of affordable treatment and services provided for individuals it can cause someone to remain homeless.Order now
Often those who suffer from a mental illness can become distant from family members and loved ones. This can also cause a person to refuse help or treatment and they are unable to form and continue healthy relationships. For example, if a person is battling depression, they might isolate themselves from any social interaction.
Pushing people away can make matters worse especially when someone pretends to be okay. Depression is a serious illness can make someone feel as if they are a burden which can cause them to have low self-confidence. This can become dangerous and can lead to the mental illness becoming more severe which can often result in someone having an increased risk of substance abuse, self-harm, increase sleep, and may lead to other mental health conditions.
Another disorder that is prevalent among those who are homeless is Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder that can make a person become delusional and can alter emotions and feelings. Bipolar disorder can be similar as it also alters emotions and feelings and can cause unusual mood swings. With someone refusing help and distancing themselves from loved ones, people with a mental disorder are more likely to become homeless. According to an article from nationalhomeless.org, those who have Schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable.
Pushing people away can be confusing for both sides especially if they do not know why they are doing it and loved ones won’t know why either. Admitting to a mental illness can be very difficult and hard to understand. With being unaware of one’s actions and emotions it can be hard to recognize it as a mental illness especially if someone thinks it cannot be treated correctly and effectively. Lastly, if a mentally ill person does not have a proper support system, they are more likely to become homeless and also remain homeless for longer periods of time.
When someone suffers from a mental illness that is left untreated it can cause a lack of income due to being unstable in the work environment. Many are unable to work due to the mental illness affecting their life. Some things that people with a mental illness may suffer from is focusing on tasks, remembering directions or completing and managing assignments, and also interacting with others.
Being unable to do these things can result in someone losing their job especially if the employer does not know about the mental illness. Many do not tell their employers if they suspect they may have depression or anxiety in fear of being terminated.
Many mental illnesses have episodes that are periodic, which means a person can be perfectly fine for a while and during an episode may go into a period where they are not well, which can affect their work. With the high cost of living and being unemployed it can cause someone to lose everything they have from their car to their house in such a short time. Then when someone becomes homeless it can become difficult in obtaining a job in the future because of not having a permanent address, phone number or transportation available.
Mental illness in the United States is more common than people may think. According to mentalhealthfirstaid.org only 41% of people in the United states who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services. What is happening to the other 59% of people? Most mental illnesses can be managed with the right treatment and medication.
With lack of insurance and the high cost of a doctor visits or medications it can lead to someone being untreated which can be very dangerous. Being untreated can cause someone to turn to other ways of coping with their behavior or emotions with things such as drugs and alcohol and may even be incarcerated due to their actions caused from the mental illness.
There is also a shortage of health care providers and specialist to help people manage their behavior and mental health. Some people may not even have access to a healthcare facility that can accommodate or manage these issues. If there is a facility someone can go to they may be faced with a long waiting list and out of pocket expenses which even most middle class Americans have trouble affording. Providing affordable mental healthcare is an important issue that needs to be looked at closer and needs to be taken very seriously.
On the other hand, some people may say mental illness is not a factor of homelessness. People may say that someone who becomes homeless was a choice they made because they were lazy and did not want to work or take care of themselves. Having this mindset is very common in a lot of Americans. With mental illness affecting behavior, thoughts, and actions it plays a big role in why someone with a mental illness is more likely to become homeless. Many homeless people struggle every day to find their next meal or where they are going to sleep.
Having the mentality that people are just lazy is not fixing the problem that is getting worse every day. Anyone who is homeless that suffers from a mental illness is the opposite of lazy, they just need the right recourses to get back on their feet. There are many harmful effects that the stigma with people who suffer from mental health face with which include fewer job opportunities, safe housing, and affordable healthcare, all the while facing discrimination for their illness.
This type of discrimination against homeless people is talked about in an article written by Ben Fishel discussing a clip from the radio show host Bill O’Reilly’s broadcast. As stated in Fishel’s article “Bill O’Reilly asserted that homeless people will “not support themselves” because they “want to get drunk, or they want to get high… or they don’t want to work they’re too lazy.” Fishel then goes on to say that according to National Resource and Training Center on Homelessness and Mental Illness that the leading cause is due to mental illnesses.
Therefore, this is a reason why it is important to educate others on mental health and that it can in fact lead to homelessness. There are many ways a person can cope with the self-doubt or stigma of mental illness, which is reaching out to loved ones or friends, avoid isolation, join support groups, and receive the right treatment. Overcoming this stigma is important in order to end the discrimination against people who suffer from a mental illness.
All in all, mental health seems to be a vicious cycle that leads to homelessness. Discrimination against someone facing a mental illness whether it is at home, work, or from others can lead to the problem becoming worse and prevent a person from receiving the help that they may need. It is important to understand the signs of a mental illness and how to treat it.
Mental health awareness is important and should be discussed more often to reduce the stigma against those who are suffering and increase the chances for early intervention. There are many mental illnesses ranging from depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia just to name a few. Any of these health issues can lead to someone being withdrawn from family and they may refuse help.
It can also be hard for someone to obtain employment or keep their current job due to certain behaviors or episodes that may happen. Lastly, with the high cost of treatment, medication and lack of recourses it can be hard for someone to seek help or receive the right treatment for their condition. All of these factors can result in a higher risk of becoming homeless in a person who is suffering from a mental illness.