Homelessness and Mental Illness
Homelessness has become a common factor especially in developing countries. The effects of this social vice have been extensively covered with a critical association being with mental illnesses. In elucidating this fact, this paper performs a literature review in which case it finds a crucial association between homelessness and mental illness. A critical observation is the high likelihood of trauma due to physical assault among most homeless people. In light of this observation, it is essential for policy makers to create holistic frameworks that will help eliminate the social vice from the society.
Homelessness and Mental Illness
Homelessness refers to the state of lacking a fixed location where one can call a home. As such, the term covers those sleeping in the streets, living in temporary accommodation or is under the threat of eviction. Due to the effects of homelessness, the victims are likely to get into depression, a state that raises their chances of mental illness. The research question for the paper is the different causes of homelessness as well as mental illnesses. The topic of homelessness and mental illness is significant since its discussion helps in creating awareness amongst the people on the need to be more helpful to those considered homeless so as not to make them socially secluded. The strategy is also a way to help in averting the high cases of mental illness already existing.
Different scholars link homelessness and the effects of mental illnesses to various reasons for the victims in the situation. Some of the issues involved include mental health problems such as stress and depression. The state of homelessness leads to the delay of a person in participating in other activities and other forms of training since one cannot think straight (Rollins et al., 2012). Furthermore, the more one stays homeless, the more the likelihood of them continuing to remain in a state of mental illness and depression. As time passes by, an individual can always continue to be acclimatized to the lifestyle of homelessness, making them believe it is okay to be homeless.
The three perspectives that sociologists give for the concept of homelessness include interactionist, functionalist and the conflict based approaches. The interactionist approach suggests that a homeless person feels confined from interacting with the other groups of people due to the nature of economic class existing between them. Such a person can easily become mentally ill due to his confinement. The same case applies to the interactionist approach where the subjectivity of the homeless person not only determines the attitudes of the victims but contribute their state of mental health (Hohm and Glynn, 2002). The functionalist approach suggests the existence of many ranks of the homeless population, asserting the problem as a challenge for the larger society. It is the same society that we have victims suffering from mental illnesses and make part of the population that are still homeless.
Other theories on homelessness and mental illness cases highlight the primary causal factor of the problem combining the overall problem within the society. The symbolic interaction theory analyzes the situation of the individual who is homeless. The theory then goes further to look into ways through which the individual can either reconstruct or construct himself, but only in the right state of mind (Ravenhill, 2008). The theory asserts the position of the individual affected while making considerations for factors such as minimum wages in jobs and lack of services that increases chances of depression and stress, and thus mental illness.
In depth discussion on the literature
Arguably, the features of homelessness have a link to the victims who suffer trauma as well as mental illnesses. The cause of the trauma or the mental illness is because of mental, sexual or physical abuse (O’Malley, 1992). The abuse can always take the form of drugs that combines with crime due to poverty and violence involved. Another cause of the problem of homelessness and mental illness tied to stressful situations concerns the demographics of different locations. For instance, an organization within a certain location may make the decision to shift its operations from one location to another. It essentially means that the job opportunities initially available in the region where the organization used to operate diminish. Those residents who relied on opportunities offered by such institutions would remain homeless considering that with no employment they are unable to support themselves through the paying of bills.
One of the key contributors to homelessness and mental illness from the factors mentioned by scholars is the nature of one's family background. Thus, wider social issues revolving around the families of those who end up homeless and state of depression and stress come into play. Some of these factors include the nature of the economy and housing market and pricing. Other issues are of a personal nature and include overcrowding, racism and discrimination. The breakdown of relationships between couples or people dating could be another cause of homelessness when such relationships fail to become what the parties in them anticipated. Some of the teens for instance may end up being homeless due to the breakdown of relationships between them and their guardians or parents.
Policy implications and suggestions
Even though experts in the field of sociology have done their research concerning homelessness and the state of a person’s mental health, there is probably more that can result from considerations of social and economic issues. There needs to be intervention into the challenge by facilitating prevention on different fronts. The first consideration is protecting the young population to ensure that they are not left in danger of any abuse or situations that can cause stress and depression. The local authorities can also come in handy by providing social workers who can assist the homeless persons. Assistance can also be offered to those who are already mentally ill. Other strategies could also look at social housing schemes through which the homeless persons can get access to the latter with the help of the local authorities (Davis, 2003).
The problem of homelessness is associated with numerous other social problems such as crime, slow development and poor public health. Notably, homelessness continues to have significant effects on the state of mental illnesses among victims as depicted in this paper. As a result, there is need to develop amicable solutions by embracing a multifaceted approach.
Davis, C. M. (2003). Housing associations: Rehousing women leaving domestic violence: New challenges and good practice. The Policy Press.
Hohm, C. F., & Glynn, J. A. (2002). California's Social Problems. Pine Forge Press.
O'Malley, P. (Ed.). (1992). Homelessness: New England & Beyond. Univ of Massachusetts Press.
Ravenhill, M (2008) The culture of homelessness, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, Aldershot, Hants.
Rollins, C., Glass, N. E., Perrin, N. A., Billhardt, K. A., Clough, A., Barnes, J., ... & Bloom, T. L. (2012). Housing Instability Is as Strong a Predictor of Poor Health Outcomes as Level of Danger in an Abusive Relationship Findings From the SHARE Study. Journal of interpersonal violence, 27(4), 623-643.