Learn about how substance abuse and mental illnesses as causes homelessness and why you should prevent them.
Alcohol and drug abuse, and mental issues are significant causes of homelessness. Hence, it is important to draw attention to them in order to create awareness about them and consequently keep people away from them.
Substance Abuse & Mental Illnesses as Causes of Homelessness & Why You Should Prevent Them
Both substance abuse and severe mental illnesses can be causes and consequences of homelessness. In the US, for example, around 30% of “chronically homeless” people have mental health conditions. Also, reports show that a good deal of chronically homeless people are drug and alcohol addicts. For example, in 2017, the National Coalition for the Homeless found that 38% of homeless people depend on alcohol, while 26% depend on other substances.
Further, 68% of U.S. cities report that addiction is their single largest cause of homelessness.
It is clear at this point that the rates of substance abuse and mental issues among the homeless population are disproportionately high. The reason is that they don’t only push people into homeless but that homelessness also exacerbates them.
Besides being causes and consequences of homelessness, substance abuse and severe mental illnesses have a close relationship, as one of them can easily be a product of the other.
Substance abuse and severe mental illness during homelessness is even worse as it may cause victims to neglect taking care of themselves. Considering the inadequate hygiene and the exposure to danger associated with homelessness, the homeless can easily develop health issues such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, tuberculosis and/or HIV.
It is important to mention that alcohol or drug abuse and mental illnesses are not automatic causes of homelessness. Nevertheless, with them, people are more likely to become unhoused.
At this juncture, it can be deduced that substance abuse, mental illness and homelessness form a cycle. Without help and proper treatment, it’s difficult for someone to break out of this cycle.
This combination of a mental illness, substance abuse, poor physical health, poor appearance and the lack of an address makes it very difficult for unhoused people to get and sustain a job. Also, a formerly homeless addict is likely to return to homelessness unless the addiction is dealt with.
Mental illnesses may also ruin victims’ chances of making and maintaining stable and healthy relationships, resulting in the loss of potential help.
People of different ages can be relegated to homelessness due to the factors being discussed in this section.