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 Headlines9 Interesting Facts about Winter Home SalesSacramento area Realtor Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville writes about a recent Redfin real estate study which indicates sellers should not discount the winter months to list their homes.
New California Laws 2017 (Part 3)New California laws for 2017. Part 3 includes pro sports teams, bankruptcy, state employees, foster care, voting rights, organ transplants, marijuana and more.
Autism: Great Minds Don't Always Think AlikeSteve Silberman will present "Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike," a deep look at the hidden history of autism and the promise of a future
$1 Million Grant Targets Chronic Homeless in Placer CountyPlacer County will receive a $1 million grant from Sutter Health to help house its chronically homeless population under a grant agreement approved
Martis Valley Groundwater Management UpdatePCWA Board approves alternative submittal for the Martis Valley Groundwater Basin.
Robert Dugan joins Sacramento Metro ChamberThe Sacramento Metro Chamber announced that Robert Dugan will join the organization as Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Economic Development
Roseville Councilmembers to be Sworn In December 7thRoseville, CA - Newly-elected Roseville City Councilmembers Bonnie Gore, John Allard and Scott Alvord will be sworn in on Wednesday, December 7th.
$250,000 for Local Nonprofits Working on Mental Health IssuesRoseville, CA - Placer Community Foundation recently made $250,000 in grants for mental health prevention and early intervention in Placer County.
Hacker Lab Maker of the Month: Heather Lee(ROCKLIN, CA) -- Hacker Lab announced that Heather Lee, a Sierra College student studying Graphic Design and Illustration
New California Laws 2017 (Part 2)Roseville, CA - New California laws for 2017. Part 2 includes water, budget act, hazardous materials, deportations to Mexico, mental health, animal research and more.
Volvo XC90: elegant and sophisticatedRoseville, CA- The 2017 Volvo XC90 review shares why there are plenty of reasons to be enamored with the XC90.
Roseville Gas Prices Pushing HigherRoseville, CA - With Brent crude oil prices rising above $55 a barrel for the first time in 16 months, Roseville residents