Homelessness is a pressing public health issue in many countries, and mental disorders are a major contributor to the high rates of morbidity and mortality among the homeless population. Numerous studies have revealed that approximately one-third of homeless people suffer from serious mental illness, mostly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The most common types of mental illness among homeless people are affective disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. The effects of housing stability on service use among homeless adults with mental illness in a Housing First randomized controlled trial have been studied.
In the early 1980s, research began to consistently report that around one-third of the homeless population had schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depression. There are various interpretations of the observed variation in the magnitude of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among homeless people in different countries. To provide a high level of evidence on the global prevalence of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among homeless people, a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted.
Prevalence of Mental Illness Among Homeless PeopleThe systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a significantly higher prevalence of schizophreniform disorder (2.48%), schizoaffective disorder (3.53%), and any type of psychosis (21.21%) among homeless people. In a study of 529 homeless people from Los Angeles, individuals who had been previously psychiatrically hospitalized and those who had not been psychiatrically hospitalized were divided.
Affective disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders, were found to be the most common types of mental illness in the homeless population.
Implications for Future Clinical Practice and ResearchThe findings from this study have implications for future clinical practice and research. As bed capacity in state hospitals decreased, the number of homeless people with mental illnesses increased, along with crimes and arrests related to homelessness. Therefore, it is essential to develop strategies to reduce homelessness and improve access to mental health services for those affected by mental illness. In conclusion, this systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence on the global prevalence of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders among homeless people.
The presentation of the findings and the articulation of the evidence in the context of homeless people was excellent. It is important to continue conducting research on this topic in order to develop strategies to reduce homelessness and improve access to mental health services for those affected by mental illness.