Mental Health and the Homeless

2165 Words9 Pages
Mental Health Care for the Homeless Tania Brana Humanities 1533 Indian River State College Mental Health and the Homeless In 1981, when Ronald Regan became President, budget cuts led to a decline in services for the mentally ill leaving most patients with no other option but to become homeless. As budget cuts have mounted, both inpatient and community services for children and adults living with serious mental illness have been downsized or eliminated. In some states, entire hospitals have been closed; in others, community mental health programs have been eliminated ( Why isn’t there better health care for homeless people with mental health issues? Do we have a moral obligation to insist on better health care, or do the rights of the individual come first? The stakeholders in this paper are the homeless, taxpayers and the government. Homelessness is defined as a person having no home or permanent place of residence (merriam-webster) and Mental illnesses refers to disorders generally characterized by dysregulation of mood, thought, and/or behavior (cdc.go). Some assumptions about homeless people are that they are lazy, crazy alcoholics or drug addicts looking for a handout. But research has proven that severe distress and psychosis are much more common among the homeless than in the general population (Schutt and Goldfinger148). Take for example Joe, a 31-year-old homeless man, facing a lifelong illness of epilepsy. He was unable to secure a driver’s license and proper identification to secure a job in construction. And Bill, a weather-beaten military man, 56, facing a longtime battle of mental illness, depression and addiction (George A11). These are just some of the faces of the homeless. Homelessness is not new in the U.S. As Alice Baum and Donald Burnes point out in their study, A Nation in Denial: The Truth About Homelessness, released in 1993,
Open Document