Living with a mental illness presents serious challenges when a person has stable housing. But, when an individual living with a mental health condition is without a safe, stable place to live, their struggles are multiplied. Mental illness and homelessness are compounding issues that can contribute to one another and create a cycle that makes it incredibly difficult for those caught in it to pursue stability.
The myths that surround these two issues can create a host of misconceptions that only add to the weight of struggle carried by those experiencing both mental illness and homelessness. The statements below represent several of the most common—and most harmful—myths about people living with these challenges. Continue reading
After suddenly losing his job over a decade ago, Anthony felt something inside him break. He soon found himself homeless, sleeping in a park or abandoned building. He recalls the street as a place where everyone wants to be somewhere else, but no one knows how to move away from their present situation. Continue reading
So often, the challenges of housing insecurity and the struggles of living with mental illness compound one another. The daily issues faced by those without stable housing situations make it difficult for them to pursue mental health stability; likewise, dealing with a mental health condition can impede their ability to take steps toward more stable living conditions. Housing is truly a foundational issue in addressing the difficulties faced by those living with serious mental illnesses. Continue reading
As a friend of The Well Community, you know that we serve adults living with chronic and severe mental illnesses. And I hope you have also become aware that, because of those conditions, our members face many daunting and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In our recent blogs, we have highlighted one of those challenges: homelessness. Nearly all of our members have been without safe and dependable shelter many times in their adult lives. In fact, even now, on any given night, more than a third of our members who attend regularly sleep in doorways, under bridges or just along the side of the road. Continue reading
Approximately one in four individuals who are homeless also deal with a serious mental illness, compared to one in 25 among the general population. In the 2019 Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance point-in-time homeless count, 55 percent of the homeless in North Texas self-reported living with a mental illness. While struggling with a mental health condition increases the likelihood that a person will become homeless, the connection works both ways: Being homeless or in insecure housing also makes it more difficult for those who live with these challenges to both pursue recovery and acquire stable housing. Below are five ways homelessness magnifies mental health struggles. Continue reading
A stable, affordable place to live can make a big difference in a person’s ability to pursue recovery while dealing with metal heath challenges. As Mental Health America of Greater Dallas states, “Safe, decent, clean housing is a key factor in recovery for individuals with mental illness.” But, for many, this housing is elusive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders are often particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless or being precariously housed (they either have no shelter or they live in crowded apartments with friends or acquaintances in untenable situations and move often). Continue reading
Mental illnesses impact people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. While treatment can make these conditions more manageable, many minority populations face challenges that make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. When left untreated, mental health issues can become more severe and can make life with them increasingly difficult to navigate. Continue reading
REFLECTIONS FROM ALICE ZACCARELLO, Executive Director
Our two featured blogs in March (Homelessness: A Roadblock to Recovery and At Home at Jacob’s House) have highlighted the relationship between mental illness and homelessness. The statistics are alarming, but the situation is even more desperate than the numbers indicate—because we are talking about PEOPLE. People who, through no choice nor fault of their own, are beset by brain disorders that prohibit them from basic human opportunities like work, security and dignity.
For members of The Well Community, safe, affordable and decent housing is an ongoing challenge. For some of them, because there is so little available, the streets are their only option. What can be done? Continue reading