Homelessness, in turn, amplifies poor mental health. The stress of being homeless can exacerbate previous mental illnesses and promote anxiety, fear, depression, insomnia and substance use. Since men who find themselves homeless have control over very few aspects of their lives, it's important for service providers to use a customer-centered approach to avoid “helping from the top down.” One of the most important studies on children and the homeless (17,000 children in Denmark) revealed a higher incidence of psychiatric disorders, including substance abuse, among adolescents with a mother or both parents with a history of homelessness. Most researchers agree that the connection between homelessness and mental illness is a complicated, two-way relationship.
For example, mothers who suffer from postpartum depression during the first year after giving birth are at greater risk of becoming homeless or experiencing factors that lead to homelessness, such as evictions or frequent removals in the two or three years after the postpartum period. I never took into account the fact that homelessness can affect a person not only when it comes to their shelter, but that they would also have problems with what they need to eat and if there are dangers around them. Programs that provide long-term stable housing (one year or more) for people with mental illness can help improve mental health outcomes, including reducing the number of visits to psychiatric hospitals for inpatients. The effects of housing stability on the use of services among homeless adults with mental illness in a Housing First randomized controlled trial.
Samra, who also serves as an advocate for the Tennessee State Task Force to End Homelessness, believes that because men are socialized to avoid expressing emotions other than anger, it is often difficult for homeless men to seriously consider the need for a change in their lives. Homeless adults with mental illness who were abused or neglected as children are more likely to be arrested for a crime or to be victims of a crime. Once homelessness and time spent homeless may be related to higher levels of psychiatric distress, higher levels of alcohol consumption, and lower levels of perceived recovery in people with previous mental illnesses. The longer a person is homeless, studies show an increase in serious clinical symptoms, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis.
Unfortunately, an increasing number of families are becoming homeless due to job loss, unaffordable rent, and other causes that lead to permanent or temporary housing situations. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 564,708 people were left homeless on any given night in the United States.