yellow pages news jobs events calendar movie times
Rocklin and Roseville Today Who's Hiring?
   |   Current Temp: 68.0 F (20.0 C)

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

Hot Pink Fun Run in Downtown Roseville September 28thRegistration is now open for the 7th Annual Hot Pink Fun Run, a family-friendly run, walk and fun zone on Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Monty Python's Spamalot at Roseville TheaterSPAMALOT tells the legendary tale of King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail. However, diverting a bit from the true story, this hilarious musical

High Marks for Sierra College Energy Tech StudentsThe Sierra College Energy Technology students who took the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners Entry-level exam in June 2014, all passed.

Multiple Sclerosis Becomes Counselor's AssetDuring most of the '70s, Kathe Skinner, now a 65-year-old licensed marriage family therapist in Colorado Springs, Colorado, couldn't figure out what was wrong with her body.

Placer Water Agency Eyes $7 Billion Bond OpportunityFunding for water resource improvements in Placer County could be possible if California voters support the $7.12 billion bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot, it was

Napa Earthquake Victims Urged to Hire Licensed ContractorsEarthquake: The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging residents of Napa Valley and surrounding areas to only hire California-licensed contractors

8 Arrested in Roseville Police Drug and ID Theft OperationRoseville Police detectives, following up on a Roseville drug case, searched a home in Sacramento and found evidence of methamphetamine sales and identity theft involving scores of victims.

Placer County Republican Party Announces EndorsementsThe Placer County Republican Party has announced the following endorsements in local races for the November 2014 election.

Federal Subpoena Served to Placer County Sheriff's OfficeThe Placer County Sheriff's Office has received several inquiries about employee internal investigations and a federal subpoena.

Bill to Help Disabled Veterans Heads to GovernorA proposal sponsored by George Runner to protect California's disabled veterans cleared the Assembly this week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.

Honda Offers Appealing New Accord Plug-in HybridHonda welcomed a new addition to its lineup for 2014: say hello to the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid. The new addition makes Honda one of the few automakers to offer

3 Arrested in Baby Formula HeistPlacer County sheriff's deputies arrested three Bay Area burglary suspects and are seeking a fourth after the group stole a large amount of baby formula from the north Auburn Bel Air store


more news