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 HeadlinesCalifornia Fire Death Toll Hits 41California Fire Updates 2017: In the past week, over 245,000 acres have burned across California. More than 11,000 firefighters continue making progress on 12 large wildfires burning in the State
Volkswagen unveils versatile new GolfRoseville, CA,- The all-new 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. Volkswagen has attempted to build the Alltrack with some enviable features that give it the versatility that appeals to people who enjoy staying active.
Roseville Gas Prices Continue DroppingRoseville, CA, - More good news for Roseville area motorists as gas prices continue to move lower. The cooler weather is moving in and autumn weekday road trips are idyllic
31 Confirmed Dead in California Wildfire DevastationCalifornia Fire Updates 2017: The death toll has risen to 31 across 4 fires as estimates remain that 3,500 homes and other structures have been destroyed
Placer Women's Retreat in Roseville on November 4thRoseville, CA- The Placer Women's Retreat will take place at the Falls Event Center in Roseville on November 4, 2017.
Sacramento Area Council of Governments UpdatesThe Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is pleased to announce Christina Lokke as its new Policy Manager and the promotion of Erik Johnson to Director
Spookomotive Trains to Treat Old Sacramento VisitorsSACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Back by popular demand, California State Parks and the California State Railroad Museum & Foundation will once again offer engaging and entertaining "Spookomotive"
Disney's Beauty and the Beast set for Harris CenterEl Dorado Musical Theatre is proud to present Disney's Beauty and the Beast which will run October 27 - November 5, 2017 at the Harris Center
Sutter Health Employees Make A Difference with Local Food Bank DonationsAUBURN - Sutter Health employees donated more than 3,350 pounds of non-perishable items to seven food banks as part of the hospital's month-long campaign
Placer County Air Quality Advisory Due to WildfiresThe Placer County Public Health Officer and Placer County Air Pollution Control Officer issued a joint air quality advisory to notify the public of the potential of poor air quality conditions
Children's Hope Charity Golf Tournament in RosevilleRoseville, CA - Children's Hope Foster Family Agency will hold it's First Annual Putting for Foster Kids Golf Tournament in Roseville on October 21, 2017 at Woodcreek Golf Club.
Roseville Incentives Hope to Lure Amazon HeadquartersRoseville, CA - Roseville is making a pitch to bring a second Amazon headquarters and its 50,000 jobs here.