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.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
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 HeadlinesPlacer Land Trust Acquires 40 Acres along North Fork of American RiverPlacer Land Trust is very pleased to announce that in early April it acquired 40 acres of gorgeous land along the North Fork American River at the bottom of the Green Valley Trail.
$20 Pet Adoptions at Placer County's Auburn ShelterFacing a spring surplus of rescue pets - and in celebration of National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day April 30 - Placer County's Auburn animal services center will lower adoption fees
Roseville Hosts I Love the 80's Fun RunRoseville, CA- On Sunday, May 1, 2016, the City of Roseville will host the I Love the 80's Fun Run in Downtown Roseville.
Yomen Spring Celebration in RosevilleYomen spring celebration in Roseville is free community event at Maidu Museum & Historic Site on April 30, 2016.
Roseville Man Arrested for Child Molestation in Bay AreaJames McNealy Carroll, a 64 year-old Roseville resident has been arrested for six counts of child molestation.
Vacancies: Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory BoardThe Placer County Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board is in need of additional community members to fill vacant seats.
Distance Language Intervention and Disabilities CommunicationSean Sawicki, who has fragile X syndrome, can be hard to understand and doesn't always have the attention span to carry on a sustained conversation
Sutter Buttes Bike Poker Run & Wine Tasting May 14thSutter, CA - Visit Yuba-Sutter will host the annual Sutter Buttes Bike Poker Run and Wine Tasting event on May 14, 2016.
Roseville's Greener Gardens Tour & DIY Expo Roseville, CA- Join hundreds of people for Roseville's Greener Gardens Tour and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Expo on Saturday, May 14th
Holly Heinzen reflects on 31-year career in serviceAfter making it through her first day, wondering if she would even be able to make it up the hill and into the parking lot, Heinzen had found a place where she would spend the duration of her career
Autism: Pool and Water Safety TipsRoseville, CA- April is National Autism Awareness month. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children and adults who have Autism.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in AuburnAuburn -The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) and the City of Auburn will host a ribbon cutting celebration to recognize the installation of two new electric vehicle