Homelessness and its Toll on Mental Health

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20-25% of Americans who are experiencing homelessness suffer from a severe mental illness, whereas only 6% of those who are not homeless have a severe mental illness. The relationship between mental health and homelessness is complicated and a two-way system. People who struggle with severe mental illness may find it difficult to uphold tasks that allow them to maintain a steady income and afford housing. Nevertheless, The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation states, “individuals with mental illnesses often find themselves homeless primarily as the result of poverty and a lack of low-income housing.” Furthermore, they state that “mental illness and homelessness can lead to […] increased levels of alcohol and drug abuse and violent victimization.” While homelessness is commonly recognized as a lack of basic necessities for living, people may overlook how detrimental homelessness can be to one’s mental health.