October 20, 2005

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."


I have a sister that needs help for a selter for mental health. I have my own problems and are not looking for more. we do not have anyone to help and I needs some help. call me 443-414-3714 and tell me what to do!!

Posted by: Jessica Ellis at June 23, 2006 03:43 PM

I have a nephew who has been diagnosed with Bipolar/Schizophrenia and hasn't gotten himself into problems with the law because of his mental problems and was dischardged from the Marines due to his problems. The story is to long to go into on here. Long story short he had finally gotten some help and given medications that helped him for awhile to live a semi-normal life, got a job that he held for awhile. Tragedy has hit again and now, he has lost everything, even his I.D. and is on the streets. Without his meds he is very strange talking and acting. He showed up at his mom's and she had to end up calling the Sherriff's to come and get him, they'll hold him at the local Mental Institute for 72hrs and then, release him back to the streets. If anybody has info on where or how we can get some help!!! Please call me 509-926-0292

Posted by: Darlene at November 2, 2006 08:30 PM

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