Mental health disorders account for a hefty portion of homelessness in Los Angeles County. Close to 76% of non-sheltered homeless persons are reported to be affected by mental health in some form [a]. Of all homeless persons, 19% are reported to have a serious mental disorder [b]. 26% of homeless reported that they are living on the streets as a direct result of mental health [c].
Treatment is scarce and unaffordable.
A serious lack of necessary services to treat mental health is a direct cause of homelessness. Most low-income and already-homeless persons suffering mental illness reported being unable to afford treatment or providers were unwilling to treat the homeless. When treatment is affordable, it's often unattainable to persons lacking a residential address, a form of health insurance, or an employer-sponsored health plan. According to Astrea Greig, Psy.D. in Boston, homelessness prevents many from obtaining the help needed to overcome and manage psychosocial stressors or mental health diagnoses [d].
Sessions or structured meetings between a licensed provider and a client seeking to improve specific aspects of their life. Specific aspects vary greatly.
A legal substance used for medical treatment, especially a medicine or a drug, and includes the practice of establishing a diagnosis, prognosis, or prevention of an illness.
Addiction therapy and the process of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment to remove dependency from a user often held within a residential facility.
Treatment is available but services are difficult to find and access.
Mental services are available but it's complex. Most homeless individuals don't actually know how or where to access services. As it sits today, the internet is the leading source for accessing mental health information but the homeless mostly do not have this access.
Homeless individuals can access free healthcare for mental health but it's not accessible unless already homeless. For those individuals close to homelessness often have to trade rent or another vital expense in order to pay for health care services.
We need to change the norm and make basic mental health services free to very low-income citizens throughout Los Angeles and keep the homeless population growing as a result of the lack of basic mental health treatments.