Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mental illness and Homelessness

How many of the homeless are diagnosed with a mental illness?

a. 100 percent—“You gotta be crazy to be homeless”
b. 80 percent
c. 40 percent
d. 20 percent

d. 20 percent. This statistic is strange, as in the general population of the United States approximately 40 percent have been diagnosed with a mental illness sometime in their lives—if only an anxiety disorder or depression. The key to this statistic is the term “diagnosed”. Because of the extreme lack of healthcare—especially mental health care—for the poor, most of those on the street who have mental health issues haven’t been diagnosed or treated.

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