Thursday, June 9, 2011

Loose link from mental health to homeless

Mental illness is not as big a pathway to homelessness as many believe, a study suggests.

Australian researchers said despite a perception that people with mental disorders are at risk of ending up homeless, most homeless people actually develop disorders after sleeping on the streets.

Factors like family breakdowns and financial difficulties are more likely to contribute to homelessness in Australia.

"Most people when they think of homelessness, they make a connection with mental illness," said Guy Johnson, from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

"There's no doubt there's disproportionately high rates of mental illness amongst the homeless population.

"(But) we thought that a number of papers that had estimated the rate had high estimates."

Dr Johnson and Professor Chris Chamberlain examined the case notes of nearly 4300 people living on the streets of inner-city Melbourne.

Their results, released this week, reveal just over 30 per cent had a mental disorder.

To read the full article, please click here.

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