Homelessness pp 101-107 | Cite as

Mental Health Services for Homeless People

  • William R. Breakey
Part of the Topics in Social Psychiatry book series (TSPS)


By definition, the homeless are a severely disadvantaged population. One of their disadvantages is a high prevalence of psychiatric disorder.1–4 Studies of the mental health of the homeless conclude that the prevalence of serious mental disorder is considerably higher than in the general population; about one-third of homeless adults have had a psychiatric hospital admission at some time.2,4 The need of this population for mental health services is great, but providing such services is made difficult by their extreme poverty, their lack of insight into their psychiatric problems, their distaste for psychiatric treatment, and the complexity of their service needs. These needs, therefore, are often poorly met.5 This chapter considers how clinical work with homeless people is affected by the special characteristics of the target population and how these characteristics affect the development of effective service systems.


Mental Health Service Homeless People Homeless Person Homeless Population Homeless Adult 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. Breakey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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