Mental Health and Homelessness

mental healthPhoto courtesy of  clarityhumanservices.com

Some believe that homelessness is a choice, but we believe it is not. Homelessness is most often a situation that can be the result of other problems, such as mental illness.  For instance, in 2012 the state of Florida counted 7,000 homeless individuals who were severely mentally ill.

In fact, mental health issues are one of the main contributors to becoming and remaining homeless. Not having the mental capacity to accomplish essential tasks can make self-sufficiency nearly impossible.

In order for homeless individuals to gain steady employment, pay bills and maintain healthy relationships, stable mental health is a must. Here at the Coalition, we are trying to guide clients to services that do just that.

Since 1993, the Coalition has relied on our on-site partner Lakeside Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. (LBHC), the leading provider of mental health services in Orange County, to meet the mental health needs of homeless clients. Through their Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH), Lakeside Outreach Specialists provide outreach or case management services to clients with varying levels of mental illness.

There are two Lakeside therapists on-site at the Coalition throughout the week that provide informal assessments regarding an individual’s need for mental health treatment, along with counseling.

In addition, Lakeside provides full-time peer specialists on campus, a service that allows clients to connect with someone on a more personal level. This service proves valuable not only to clients, but to the staff that helps them as well. Our peer specialist Dina shares, “I can’t see myself working anywhere else…it’s my heart and joy.”

Do you know someone who is homeless due to mental health issues?

Visit centralfloridahomeless.org or Lakeside Behavioral Healthcare to see how they may be helped.

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