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Relationship between mental health and homelessness

Introduction to the relationship between mental health and homelessness

In the present era, homelessness is a serious problem that is faced by UK citizens. In the UK, homelessness is described as a situation in which people live without a roof over their heads. They do not have their residence which makes people unable to spend a safe and secure life. All the UK people who are spending their nights in homeless shelters, warming centers, tents, recreational vehicles, cardboard boxes, and tarpaulins are considered homeless. Thus, it can be said that the term ‘home’ not only involves the physical space but also provides security, safety, a sense of belongingness, and emotional attachment. In the UK, homelessness mainly refers to the absence of accommodation facilities for the people. In the UK, the local authority is responsible for providing accommodation services to the homeless person who qualifies for all the criteria of the statutory homelessness test. The five criteria include homelessness, eligibility, priority need, international homelessness, and local connection test.

Mental illness includes all the health-related problems that affect some of the citizens of the UK. It affects a person’s mood, way of thinking, and behavior in an adverse manner. It includes depression, addiction, stress, anxiety, panic conditions, schizophrenia, and so on.

In the UK, homelessness is caused due to the loss of dwelling, mortgage, and rent arrears, the breaking down of a relationship with a partner, the unwillingness of parents and families to accommodate for longer periods, etc. Homelessness is one of the significant reasons that causes of mental illness. It is because homeless people feel mental pressure to their mind. They feel depressed and panic conditions that result in mental illness. Both mental illness and homelessness are directly related to each other. Raising the number of homeless people will tend to increase mental illness and vice versa.

The present essay will discuss the causes and consequences of homelessness. Moreover, it will help us identify the relationship between homelessness and mental illness.

Causes of homelessness and its relationship with mental illness

Relationship between homelessness and mental illness: Several factors cause homelessness in the UK. A broad understanding of the factors helps us to ascertain the relationship between homelessness and mental illness. It includes both the personal causes and structural factors that are explained here:

Personal causes: It involves both personal as well as social factors. These factors greatly contribute to the reasons why a person becomes homeless. Further, these factors can be classified into different types which are individual and family background factors. Causes of homelessness that are related to the person are termed individual factors. However, social factors comprise all the family factors that cause homelessness and which include aspects such as family disputes.

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Individual factors: The factors that are related to the homeless people only, are part of individual factors. It includes lack of qualification, lack of social support, high loans or arrears issues, poor health, breaking down of relationships, and involvement in crime.

Lack of social support: Social support is related to the person’s behavior in which they help and assist other people. It is related to the perception of people who take care of other individuals or groups. In the community network, the social support system plays a significant role. There are different forms of social support systems that are emotional, instrumental, and informational. Caring for people prevails under emotional support while instrumental support refers to physical support. It includes the monetary kind of help such as money and house assistance. Along with it, informational support consists of providing necessary and required information to help someone. In case of difficult survival conditions, lack of social support may cause homelessness problems. However, when society is inclined to provide care to other people, then they will be able to take home and monetary assistance from the community. In addition to this, more and more support from society helps to reduce the mental health problems of an individual (Heinze and et. al., 2012). Support from trusted social groups and valued individuals helps to reduce mental stress. It helps to reduce both psychological and physiological consequences to a great extent. Moreover, the support system comprises formal and informal support from society. Meeting with friends, and relatives, and going to society, clubs, etc provides a sense of belonging, safety, security, and relationship within the community. Thus, it can be concluded that there is a great tie between the well-being and support level. Extensive support level helps to mitigate both the homelessness and mental illness of the people and vice versa.

Lack of qualification: It is one of the reasons for unemployment. Moreover, people who were less educated were employed at lower wage rates. Therefore, their income level is very low. Hence, they cannot afford to have their own houses. Therefore, due to a lack of qualifications and income, people are unable to purchase and build their residences. It, further, leads to cause homelessness. Along with it, the low income level causes stress in everyone's mind for survival. Moreover, uneducated people feel hesitation to talk with other educated people. It causes consciousness in them thereby causing various mental health problems as well. Thus, it can be said that lack of educational and professional qualifications causes both mental illness and homelessness.

Higher debts and mortgage: People take loans for different purposes such as starting their own business, marriages, etc. Loans are not only required by the unemployed persons but are also taken by the people who are working somewhere. Banks and other financial institutions provide loans based on collateral security. Most people keep their property documents as security. In case of making any default in repayments of loans, loan providers have the right to discharge the security provided to them. Therefore, in the case when people do not repay their mortgages, their property can be repossessed by the mortgage company thereby making people homeless (Pallard and et. al., 2015). Moreover, higher debts require proper arrangements of funds to repay them. This causes stress and depression in the mind of an individual. This, in turn, resulted in mental health consequences.

Relationship breakdowns: Homelessness also results due to conflict in family relationships. In society, there is a rise in several people who are leaving their houses because of the breaking down of relationships and family conflicts. Young people who are living alone with their parents because of poor family relationships also result in homelessness. Moreover, the worst family relationships and conflicts among them create mental disturbance because the homeless person will get highly stressed and depressed. Moreover, the parents will be anxious about the child's life and their survival. This, in turn, resulted in mental illness to all the family members.

Crime involvement: One of the most important factors is involvement in crime at an earlier age. In case, the child leaves their house and family, the possibility of being involved in crime-related activities increases. They get involved in thieving activities to fulfill their monetary requirements. This in turn makes people homeless. Theft also brought fear and stress to the mind of an individual which resulted in poor mental health issues.

Family background: This category of classification is concerned with all family problems which include family disputes, abuse of the child, and use of drugs or alcohol. They are explained below:

Family disputes: Many times, family members fight with each other for the property. The family member desires to have physical possession and legal rights in the homes. Another reason for family disputes is domestic violence. Hence, women who do not feel safe and secure at their home, leave home with their children thereby becoming homeless. Moreover, family disputes result in a poor homely environment. Every member feels stressed and panic a mental condition. The disputes highly adversely impact the children. Moreover, women will be highly depressed in case of domestic violence. Every time they feel very insecure and unsafe. They leave their houses to make children’s lives safe and secure thereby becoming homeless (Payne, Macgregor, and McDonald, 2015). Another with it is a greater possibility of suicide which is because of depression. Along with the mental stress and depressed conditions, women also feel a lack of belongingness due to living life alone. It brings negative thinking into their minds which further results in mental illness. Therefore, it can be said that domestic violence and all other kinds of family disputes bring problems of homelessness and mental consequences. If you want to score top grades in your nursing assignments, then quickly opt for Nursing Assignment Help from medical professional writers with guaranteed plagiarism-free content.

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Abusing family behavior: Abuse includes both physical and sexual abuse. The research on homelessness and mental problems predicts that almost all homeless children are abused. Physical and sexual abuse affects the children’s internal and external behavior. Internal behavior comprises anxiousness, depression, personality, and mental disorder while external behaviors include children's aggressiveness. All these are long-term consequences for abusive behavior. Sexual abuse impacts the development of brain and mental health (Moyo, Patel, and Ross, 2015). It results in extensive anger, fear, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Thus, it can be interpreted that abuse in childhood and adolescence stage causes mental health-related issues in the person's life.

Addiction behavior: In the present age, the number of addicts is increasing at a rapid rate. It refers to the person’s habit of using alcohol products and drugs that resulted in homelessness. People are addicted to the use of cocaine, opiates, cannabis drugs, heroin, and other alcoholic products. Initially, drugs fulfill their voluntary requirement but after that, it turned out to be the requirement that provides a higher level of satisfaction to them. People spend larger amounts of funds on their addiction habits without considering their family requirements. Moreover, in the absence of funds, there is a greater possibility of being involved in crime as well. The reason for homelessness is that drug users are unwilling and unable to fulfill their family necessities. People use alcohol to overcome various problems. They spent all their earnings to accomplish their addiction requirement. This in turn causes homelessness problems among substance users (Bassuk, Richard, and Tsertsvadze, 2015).  In the UK, more than 20% of people become homeless due to their addiction habits. Moreover, addiction to drugs and alcohol not only affects the user but also impacts their family members. It influenced the mental health condition of individuals in distinct ways. Depression and Schizophrenia are the most significant impacts among mental disorders. ‘Schizophrenia’, as the term indicates is a mental illness that results in blind beliefs, changing ways of thinking, hallucinations, and reduction in motivation level. All of these symptoms have long-lasting consequences. It includes disorganizing thinking and hearing problems. The users will not be able to understand what others are delivering to them. Moreover, the mental disorder also includes depression, hearing voice problems, stress, panic, and fear of disputes (Homelessness, 2007). Domestic violence is also the most important issue that results from the addiction habits that cause numerous mental health issues. Thus, it becomes clear that there is a great possibility of becoming homeless person due to addictive behavior that further causes mental illness as well to an individual.        Thus, based on above identified factors, it can be said that all the internal factors are resultant of individual as well as social factors. These factors can be controlled by the people. Hence, are also termed controllable factors. For instance, addiction habits, abusive behavior, family disputes, loss of breaking down relationships, and involvement in crime can be controlled by the people. This, in turn, helps to minimize the problem of homelessness and mental health problems.

Structural factors: These include all the economic factors that prevail in the economy. Hence, they cannot be controlled by the people. The factors include unemployment, poverty, housing policies, wider policy developments, and lack of ability to affordable housing (Milby and et. al., 2015). It helps to identify the relationship between homelessness and mental illness. The factors are described here as follows:

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Unemployment: It is one of the serious problems that are faced by citizens of the UK. In the present age, the level of competition has become fierce. Moreover, technological improvements have been increasing at a faster rate. This in turn has resulted in lower creation of jobs and a higher UK unemployment rate. It refers to the conditions in which people have no work to do and they are unemployed. Therefore, people will not be able to generate adequate levels of income for spending better lives (Macnaughton et al., 2015). The reason behind homelessness is that jobless people will not be able to afford their residences. Moreover, curtailment of jobs and worker pay-off are the reasons for unemployment that result in an increasing number of homeless people. Lack of work majorly contributes to the increasing number of people who become homeless. The rising number of jobless people tends to increase the problem of homelessness. Moreover, the unemployed people became very depressed and stressed because of the lack of work. They feel highly tense and become hopeless about getting to work. In the present time, not only the unable person but also the skilled and able labor force is unemployed thereby resulting in mental disorder problems. Therefore, it becomes clear that there is a great possibility for unemployed people to become homeless and face negative mental consequences. It also adversely impacts the economic growth.

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Poverty: It is a stage where people have no availability of money to survive a better life. Overpopulation, social inequality, discrimination, unstable political situations, natural disasters, and higher national debts are the reasons for poverty. Poor people are not able to accomplish their basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. Increasing poverty of the people results in lower levels of income. Thus, poor people do not have sufficient availability of money. Hence, they cannot afford their own houses thereby leading to the problem of homelessness (Bartels, 2015). They are living in tents and cardboard boxes and have become homeless. Further, they are facing mental pressures and depressed conditions due to lack of funds resulting in mental consequences.

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Housing policies: In the UK, house prices are increasing at exponential rates. Moreover, the sizes of houses are smaller as compared to those in European Countries. Therefore, the UK government makes a housing policy in which they construct houses and provide accommodation facilities to the citizens at minimum rental charges. It is the best way of providing immediate services to homeless people at affordable prices. Furthermore, by developing a wider housing policy, the UK government can greatly respond to the problems of the housing shortage. Through building new homes and providing them to the people at favorable prices, homelessness can be highly reduced. In the context of the UK, the housing policy constructs several houses to eliminate the housing shortage. This, in turn, helps to tackle the consequences of homelessness. However, in the absence of these kinds of policies, people will not be able to afford housing facilities which results in homelessness and mental illness (Johnson and et. al., 2015).  Therefore, people will be highly satisfied and less depressed about their residence availability and life spending. Thus, it becomes clear that UK affordable housing designs, housing numbers, and new building standards mitigate the homeless problems of a large number of people.

Lack of ability to affordable houses: People who are not financially able to afford their own private houses will turn out to become homeless. In the UK, rural communities are not able to afford their own houses due to lack of funds. People are unable to purchase their own houses. Moreover, they cannot borrow larger funds because of high-interest rates. Furthermore, an affordability crisis arises due to higher construction costs of the building. Therefore, they are becoming homeless which results in increasing issues of homelessness. Therefore, it causes mental health consequences such as mental pressure, depression, and stress.


The essay concluded that homelessness and mental issues are interrelated to each other. The report explained that several factors cause homelessness and result in mental health problems. It includes poverty, lack of education, addiction habits, unemployment, lack of social support, family disputes, abusive behavior, crime involvement, and relationship breakdowns. Some factors are related to the person and hence, can be controlled by them. However, the economic factors are uncontrollable and affect the economic development and growth. The report furthermore concluded that both homelessness and mental illness are related positively to each other. A higher level of homelessness imposes higher mental health disorders on individuals and vice versa.

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  • Bartels, S. J., 2015. Can behavioral health organizations change health behaviors? The STRIDE study and lifestyle interventions for obesity in serious mental illness. American Journal of Psychiatry.
  • Bassuk, E. L., Richard, M.K. and Tsertsvadze, A., 2015. The prevalence of mental illness in homeless children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 54(2). pp. 86-96.
  • Heinze, H. J. and et. al., 2012. Reasons for homelessness: An empirical typology. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies. 7(1). pp. 88-101.
  • Macnaughton, E. and et al.,  2015. Implementing Housing First Across Sites and Over Time: Later Fidelity and Implementation Evaluation of a Pan-Canadian Multi-site Housing First Program for Homeless People with Mental Illness. American journal of community psychology. 55(3-4). pp. 279-291.
  • Milby, J. B. and et. al., 2015. Comorbidity effects on cocaine dependence treatment and examination of reciprocal relationships between abstinence and depression. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 83(1), p. 45.
  • Pollard, H., and et. al., 2015. Homelessness in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, 8(04), pp. 37-50.
  • Payne, J., Macgregor, S. and McDonald, H., 2015. Homelessness and Housing Stress Among Police Detainees: Results from the DUMA Program. Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, (492), p. 1.
  • Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences. 5(22). p. 418.
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