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 HeadlinesRoseville Financial Advisor Sentenced for Ripping Off ClientsMichelle Lee Kern, 36, who worked as a licensed financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Roseville has been sentenced to 46 months in prison.
Roseville, Rocklin among California's Best Cities for Home OwnershipIn a recent Nerd Wallet report, Rocklin, Folsom, and Roseville, rank 11th through 13th (respectively) among California's Best Cities for Homeownership.
Hidden Falls Regional Park Receives GrantPlacer County's "gem of the foothills," Hidden Falls Regional Park, is the recipient of a grant that will fund innovative projects protecting long-term ecological values and economic viability
Roseville Developer Begins Senior Community in Elk GroveUSA Properties Fund will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Arbor Creek Senior Apartments at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 4, at the project site located at Elk Grove-Florin and Calvine roads
Rep. Tom McClintock Announces August Town Hall MeetingsRoseville, CA -- U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04) has announced a series of town hall meetings in August.
Lincoln Man Serving Aboard the Navy's USS SomersetPetty Officer 1st Class Brian West, an aviation boatswain's mate from Lincoln, Calif. and 2003 graduate of Lincoln High School, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Somerset
California Would Create More Jobs Without Prop 30In his recent piece for The Sacramento Bee, "State's job growth defies predictions after tax increases," David Cay Johnston argues that California's recent job creation numbers prove
Sacramento County Opposes Bay Delta Conservation PlanThis week the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors formally submitted comments challenging the findings of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) state environmental
Roseville to Host Senior Softball Western National ChampionshipsRoseville will play host this August to the Senior Softball Western National Championships
Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (7.29.14)Roseville, CA - The Roseville Police Department weekly crime report digest update for July 29, 2014.
Different Standards From Mortgage LendersJulie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, reports on a recent Fannie Mae survey which indicates there may be a growing difference in credit standards between small and large lenders. Which do you think has the tighter credit standards? Check out Julie's article and find out.
PCWA Comments on Bay Delta Conservation PlanDrought Watch: PCWA expresses concern about future water supply reliability for Placer County and claims EIR fails to consider key issues.