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As Depaul,the cross-border charity supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, we observed World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day over the weekend by highlighting the link between homelessness and mental ill-health.
People who are homeless experience much higher levels of mental ill-health than the general population and mental ill-health is often an input as well as an output of homelessness.
In other words untreated mental illness can often be a causative factor of homelessness, particularly when combined with drug or alcohol addiction.
Homelessness service providers across Ireland are seeing an increase in ‘dual diagnosis’ cases - people presenting with both a substance abuse issue and a mental health issue. Service delivery models have not kept pace with this trend - most mental health services and addiction centres in Ireland are not equipped to provide holistic support for people suffering from ‘dual diagnosis’ and many people with multiple and complex needs are going untreated.
Once a person becomes homeless, he or she is at a much higher risk of mental ill-health - low self-esteem, depression and anxiety disorders are common amongst people experiencing homelessness. Emergency accommodation is often unsuitable for people with mental health needs.
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