Many Homeless Have Mental Illness
Over the last year, I've been learning much as possible about homeless people with disabling mental illnesses, especially ones with psychotic disorders.
May is Mental Health Month, and I am a licensed professional counselor, so this might be a good venue and time to share some of what I found.
First, it's impossible for anyone to determine, with absolute certainty, the number of homeless Americans with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. These good people don't wear name tags letting you know they have a mental illness. It's a hidden disability. Most people with any form of schizophrenia, for example, can't hold a regular job.
Probably a little more than one percent of the general population has a form of schizophrenia, whereas the rate among chronically homeless people is probably just above ten percent, which amounts to a rate about ten times that of the general population.
A person with schizophrenia, in general, may have bizarre delusions, hallucinations, show grossly disorganized or inappropriate behavior, disorganized speech, emotional unresponsiveness, say few words, and be unable to initiate activities. Men usually acquire schizophrenia between ages 18-25 and women ages 25-35. Genetics play a role. A person right before onset usually experiences severe stress.
What makes the homeless population more of a concern, given their financial limitations and often their lack of healthcare insurance, is their strong likelihood of not having access to psychiatric care and medication, which is absolutely essential to managing these disorders.
People with schizophrenia tend to have poor insight into having it, leading many of them who aren't seeing a psychiatrist to not see a need for going, and the ones seeing a psychiatrist often to not comply with treatment. Many times the medication prescribed has almost intolerable side effects. Also, in some cases, the disorder itself tends to move people toward social isolation and away from seeking treatment.
For instance, one person I met preferred homelessness because being so enabled him to stay away from people he thought were persecuting him. His thoughts were a manifestation of a delusional disorder, akin to schizophrenia. This particular person likely never would apply for healthcare insurance (he didn't have any then) or see a psychiatrist due to deep-seated fears of what "they" would do to him.
There are other serious and persistent mental illnesses besides schizophrenia, including borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and recurrent major depression. Other homeless people have these potentially disabling conditions, too.
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News Headlines$96,000 Raised for Fallen Officers with Help of Dutch Bros.On Wednesday, October 29, Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area banded together with the community to raise $96,697 to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.
Roseville Police Seek Suspect in Halloween Crime61-year-old Daniel Rosario is being sought by Roseville police in connection with an early-morning burglary, car theft and attempted assault on an officer
Roseville, Rocklin Among Top Choices for Young FamiliesRoseville and Rocklin are ranked among the top 10 places in Northern California for young families according to a NerdWallet report
Kings, Sacramento Community Break Ground on Arena Marking the culmination of a decade-long effort to build a new arena in Sacramento, today the community officially celebrated the groundbreaking of the new downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).
Roseville Hit and Run Reward OfferedRoseville Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a wrong-way driver who crashed into another car and then fled the scene
Free Alzheimer's Caregivers Workshop at UC DavisOnline registration begins Nov. 4 for the UC Davis Mini Medical School, a series of Saturday classes ideally geared for foresighted middle-agers and novice seniors
Roseville California Crime Brief (10.29.14) Crime brief update report for Roseville, California October 29, 2014.
Halloween Safety TipsCostumes, jack-'o-lanterns, haunted house and scary ghost stories mark this time of year as all kids of all ages enjoy the spirit of Halloween
Memorial for Slain Officer to be Held in RosevilleThe memorial service for Detective Michael Davis, who was killed in the line of duty will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Adventure Christian Church
2,400 Volunteers Turn Out in Rocklin for Annual EventMore than 2,400 volunteers packed 520,992 meals for malnourished children around the world at a three-day event at William Jessup University in Rocklin.
Sinking Gas Prices Won't Last The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation's gas stations offer regular
Dutch Bros. to Raise Funds for Fallen Officers' Families Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area are raising funds to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.