The link between the homeless and mental disorders is quite a strong one. Observing all those miserable people sleeping on the benches and wandering in the streets, passers-by think that they are simply alcoholics and addicts who have no family to care about them. But every now and then we can catch that something is not right about these people, and that is not because they look really filthy. Most of them suffer from severe mental illnesses which cannot be combated without proper care and medical treatment.
Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, and many other severe conditions are usually diagnosed in homeless people. Most of them can be well-cured or deterred from complications. However, rather few homeless individuals are rescued by social workers and placed in a proper setting where they can defeat their addictions and illnesses. Social workers confess that it is very hard to move people off the streets. They move in and out of homelessness, but the “newcomers” sufficiently outnumber those who were given help or managed to find a way out themselves.
It is no wonder that mentally ill homeless are difficult to approach and tough to treat. Most of them are already self-medicating with alcohol, the others accept any treatment as an assault because they do not recognize themselves as mentally ill. On the streets, homeless try to survive and do not really care about treatment. The federal government annually spends several billions of dollars to cover the programs for the homeless. Specialists who coordinate these programs say that the best way to cope with the mental illnesses is to house the homeless first and only then to provide treatment.