Mentally Ill, Homeless & in the Snow
Counting and categorizing the diagnoses of those among a transient population, whose members tend to be without mailing addresses and phones, is a formidable task. A good estimate, however, is that there are 200,000 people with severe mental illness among the 600,000 who live in America’s streets and shelters. This means that one in three people without homes are homeless, at least in part, because of the symptoms of mostly treatable psychiatric illnesses.
The results of an extensive survey of people in Minnesota who are homeless found that 52 percent of them had a serious mental illness, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. That percentage is significantly ones found by other researchers. That could be a sign that the prevalence is increasing. A perhaps more likely alternative is that people incapacitated by a severe mental illness are less likely to appreciate that escaping the frigid Minnesota winters can make being homeless at least a little less arduous.