Homeless shelters are de facto mental institutions
This is a story out of Australia, but it is equally true in the USA, Canada and many other countries. It seems like an ideal opportunity for action for advocates of the mentally ill, and religious groups that are interested in helping people less fortunate. I would correct the story in only one area. Where they say that "homeless shelters are the community's de facto mental health institutions" - the truth is really that both homeless shelters and jails are the de facto mental health institutions.
"Homeless shelters are the community's de facto mental health institutions and governments should allocate more resources to them, a church welfare group says.
Wesley Mission Homeless Persons' Services manager the Reverend Rex Graham says half of the people housed at the Mission's emergency accommodation centre in central Sydney (Australia) had been in psychiatric units or prisons.
More than 75 per cent of the 847 people accommodated at Wesley Mission's Edward Eagar Lodge in inner Sydney during the past year had a mental illness or disorder, he said.
In the past year, 20 per cent of those accommodated in the shelter suffered from schizophrenia, 33 per cent were bipolar, 26 per cent had anxiety disorders, 41 per cent were alcoholics and 36 per cent had other drug problems.
"The primary requirement is the allocation of resources to community-based programs," Mr Graham said.
"Much of the mental health budget goes to the sharp end of care such as psychiatric emergency care facilities.
He said governments needed to provide more support for accommodation services for the homeless, through boosting drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, community-based mental health workers and employment services."
Posted by szadmin at October 20, 2005 12:28 PM
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