The Effects of Homelessness on Human Psychology

by scase3 on March 14, 2014 - 9:13pm

Everyone knows that homelessness is a problem in urban areas of the United States.  There is often studies done on the rate of homelessness and how they survive but a new study has brought a new side to problems of homeless veterans.  No one has ever really studied the dangers and side effects of living homeless on the psyche of veterans.  The study in this article was carried out through the VA Homeless Operations Management and Evaluation System (HOMES) which is an online program that keeps track of homeless veterans along with the tracking of non-veteran homeless people.   The results showed that the veterans were the least likely to have any psychiatric disorders.  The only catch was that homeless veterans had a very high amount of substance abuse. 


The main purpose of this article was to monitor and find problems affecting homeless people and veterans in particular.  For this to be a legitimate study, the creators had to make multiple assumptions.  First of all, they had to assume that the program they were using was regularly updated and maintained by the veterans.  This could be difficult because the homeless don’t always have access to a computer.  The second assumption that was needed was that the homeless would stay homeless throughout the experiment.  The whole experiment would become invalid on homeless people if the group studied had a large gain in fortune and were able to get off of the streets.  The last assumption is that none of the homeless subjects that were kept track of had any psychological problems before the study started.  If you make an experiment to test for psychiatric disorders and the group studied already has these problems, the experiment will be completely pointless.



Tsai, J. Kasprow, W.J. Rosenheck, R.A. (2013, December).  Latent Homeless Risk Profiles of a National Sample of Homeless Veterans and Their Relation to Program Referral and Admission Patterns. American Journal of Public Health. 103(2), s239-s2447


This is an interesting, but tragic subject. It makes me consider a lot of things about this topic. For example, I had always wanted to address this issue, but I never knew how to approach it. It's a tragedy in this country with so much hope and opportunity, that we even have homelessness. Especially among our veterans who bravely fought for and served our country and they're homeless. I think one thing to improve your post, however, is to include more statistics about this problem. Keep up the good work.

I liked that this article has focused on the veterans. You article is well structured and I enjoyed reading your summary. Soldier lay their life for the country and its citizens and I find it most regretful that they are thrown on the streets, discarded, like trash when they can't serve anymore. The psyche of the homeless must be interesting and I would lie to know more about whether the veterans are less affected because of their military training.

I enjoyed reading about your post because there is not enough awareness of the effects on homelessness and I feel like you have mentioned the key effects. I have found an article written by the "Canadian Institute for Health Information" that tackles the issue of homelessness from many angles. The article can help you with your research because it lists definitions, statistics, effects, and solutions. The article mentions that the negative psychological effects that can develop because of homelessness are the following; schizophrenia, personality disorders, substance abuse, concurrent disorders, depression, and major depressive disorder. A major mental outcome of homelessness is depression and it plays as a snowball effect which leads to other illnesses. The article also mentions some solutions to help the homeless who are affected by psychological issues. The authors suggest that coping is the main way the homeless should address their mental illnesses. They can achieve this by social support to boost their self-esteem and get rid of the suicidal behaviors.
Link to article:

Montreal has a unique relationship with the issue of homelessness. For example the Mental Health Commission of Canada has recently done a study of 469 homeless participants to determine the probably of the homeless experiencing a mental illness. One of the objective of MHCC is to help people with mental health problems find and maintain employment. In addition, instead of providing the homeless with random shelters they gave the participants the ability to choose the type of housing they wanted. Moreover, the homeless were provided with health care and life skills coaching.
Link to MHCC website:

Here in Montreal our government is helping the homeless community by having additional funding and policies that will increase the chance of getting the destitute people off of the streets. The policies have a five point format such as lodging, health, income, education and social housing. The city of Montreal earmarked an additional $1 million for issues associated with homelessness. It is important to address that 43 per cent of people living in the streets have a recorded mental illness issue.

I agree with your thoughts on the study conducted on veterans. I am surprised with the results that homeless veterans are the least likely to have mental issues. In the news lately we often hear of veterans that are committing suicide, killing family, or going on a shooting spree. studied have shown that many homeless people suffer from mental issues such as schizophrenia and depression and not just substance abuse. There was this film that i saw and this guy in the film was suffering from schizophrenia and depression and he was first living on the streets of LA before he moved in with his parents.

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