How Many People with Serious Mental Illness are Homeless?

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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How Many People with Serious Mental Illness are Homeless?

A quantitative and qualitative analysis of the intersection between serious mental illness and homelessness. Using statistics, we will determine the prevalence of mental illness among the homeless population. The essay will also discuss systemic issues that might push mentally ill individuals into homelessness and the challenges they face in accessing care. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about Disease topic.

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Homelessness is an issue seen everywhere in this day and age, and I believe that no individual should ever have to deal with this issue. This is the concern that the articles, “Mental Illness and Homelessness” by the National Coalition for Homelessness, and “How Many People With Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless” by the Treatment Advocacy Center, discuss. Every individual born on Earth deserves to be loved, cared for, have a family, and most importantly, have a home to go to with a roof over their head.

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Too often, passers-by on the streets see people lying or sitting on the curb, asking for money, food, or a home. Multiple factors lead to a person becoming homeless, whether physical or behavioral. The traumatizing factors that citizens of the United States often grapple with include mental illness, neglect, and lack of common knowledge.

To begin, mental illness is often connected to how a person becomes homeless. In the first article, “Mental Illness and Homelessness,” by the National Coalition for Homelessness, there are multiple instances of vivid detail, where the reader can pick up on the point the author really wants to get across. The author uses elevated vocabulary and highly descriptive language to provide the reader with more information on the topics covered. The main focus of this article is how mental illness eventually leads to homelessness and the multiple solutions that the National Coalition for the Homeless organization have devised to prevent homelessness.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of mental illness (National Coalition for Homelessness). This percentage may be small, but it is essential to consider because those who do suffer from this are citizens of the United States with rights to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect. Mental illness in the United States is the third largest cause of people becoming homeless. It harms a person mentally and physically, damaging their ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, including self-care and household management. Mental illness can also affect a person’s ability to form and maintain stable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones. This can leave individuals uncared for and neglected. Avoiding mental illness should be a priority, and no individual should ever have to suffer something this traumatizing.
In the second article, “How Many People with Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless?” by the Treatment Advocacy Center, the author also focuses on what causes homelessness and how mental illness is linked to it. The author uses a vast amount of facts and research in a manner similar to the previous article. This level of detail provides the reader with factual information and can enable them to connect emotionally to the article. Anyone walking the streets is familiar with the plight of lost souls who are too disoriented to care for themselves (The Los Angeles Times). It is indeed true that almost everyone who steps out on the town, day or night, sees people sitting on the curb begging for money, food, care, help, or a place to call home. It is a truly sad sight, and it often leaves those who see it with a sense of regret when they do not offer aid or even acknowledge these individuals’ need for care and assistance. People should be more attentive to this issue and help struggling individuals whenever and however they can.

According to the research in this article, one-third of the total homeless population includes individuals with serious and neglected mental illnesses. Neglect is also a significant contributor to mental illness and homelessness. The basic definition of neglect is the state of a person not being adequately cared for or not being cared for at all. Further research indicates that around 33 percent of the homeless are individuals with severe cases of mental illness and neglect, which are left untreated. Accompanying mental illness is often severe depression, which can lead to a loss of common sense knowledge. The population of homelessness in states, cities, or small towns is steadily increasing and, if it continues to rise, there will be no community left to care for those in need, and there will be little that can be done to assist the homeless. Despite the fact that mental illness and homelessness are critical issues, both articles, “Mental Illness and Homelessness” and “How Many People with Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless?” propose several solutions. The first article discusses improved mental health services, such as psychiatric hospitals and facilities, caregiving facilities, and shelters. These services could manage mental illness and homelessness all at once.
These are the types of services that need to be open and available to all individuals struggling with these diseases. Research indicates that the top service needed to help combat these diseases is, in fact, mental health service providers. In February of 2009, the United States Congress passed a useful act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act includes $1.5 billion allocated for homeless prevention and rehousing (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2009). This is merely one resource designed to slow the growth of the population affected by mental illness and homelessness. Another resource is outlined in the second article, “How Many People with Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless?”. The resource highlighted in this article proposes opening more psychiatric hospitals and facilities and preventing the closure of existing ones. If these facilities close, there’ll be a significant increase in the population dealing with mental illness, depression, neglect, and/or homelessness. There would be no help available for these individuals, nowhere for them to turn. The untreated mentally ill population should be treated as an emergency; they need immediate care, attention, and help. There should be multiple resources in the United States to assist these individuals and progressively rehabilitate them, making them feel human again.

Both of these informative articles, despite dealing with the same topic, were not written with identical forms or styles. The authors of each article must have brainstormed the topic of homelessness before crafting their respective pieces. They created an outline, distinguished the specific topics they wished to inform the reader on, and included the most essential information to engage the reader. Each author operates on the assumption that the reader needs to understand what homelessness is and what key factors contribute to it. They also emphasize that there are existing statistics demonstrating just how many people are affected by mental illness and homelessness. This information compels the reader to think about the article’s main idea and helps to form a connection with the piece. One difference between the articles that I noted was the balance of factual information and commonsense conclusions in each.
In the article “How Many People With Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless?” there are more instances of factual information such as facts, statistics, definitions, and so forth, compared to the other article, “Mental Illness and Homelessness”. The authors of each article want the reader to realize that homelessness is a major issue in the United States; that the population of this issue is always increasing, and that anyone can be a victim. The authors also want the reader to know that there are resources out in the world that offer help for these people and that they never have to be alone. Each author has composed a great piece of writing that could keep the reader’s interest. They made sure that there was plenty of vivid detail and information to keep the reader constantly wondering and help them to really process all the given information. In conclusion, mental illness, neglect, depression, and homelessness will always be an issue in today’s day and age. Hopefully, someone in this world can someday find a way to end these horrible situations, because no individual should ever have to suffer from these issues. If someone sees an individual who looks neglected or uncared for, don’t ignore it. Don’t cause yourself to have that feeling of regret if you don’t help them. Again, the effects of mental illness, neglect, and depression, which all lead to homelessness at some point, are never anything anyone should have to endure at any point in their lifetime.

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How Many People With Serious Mental Illness Are Homeless?. (2019, Jan 12). Retrieved from