Articles

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 203-214

First online:

Homelessness and mental health policy: Developing an appropriate role for the 1980s

  • Dee RothAffiliated withProgram Evaluation and Research, Ohio Department of Mental
  • , Gerald J. BeanJr.Affiliated withProgram Evaluation and Research, Ohio Department of Mental
  • , Pamela S. HydeAffiliated withProgram Evaluation and Research, Ohio Department of Mental

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Abstract

Previous research has reported prevalence rates of mental health problems among homeless individuals that range from 20% to 90%. Attempting to validly verify prevalence rates is important because of the implications concerning both deinstitutionalization and developing an appropriate mental health policy over the next decade. In the present research, which used as its sample the largest homeless sample assessed to date, prevalence was found to fall at the lower range of previously cited data. Despite the fact that the prevalence of mental health problems among the homeless population was found to be relatively low, it was found that homeless people with mental health problems are, at best, only marginally served by the mental health system. Implications for community mental health policymakers and program designers are discussed.