European Journal of Environment and Public Health, Volume 1, Issue 1
Mental illness is prevalent among the homeless population and the rate of mentally ill homeless individuals has increased since deinstitutionalization. There is little information about homeless population mental health and access to mental healthcare. This study sought to describe the mental health status and utilization of mental healthcare services among homeless individuals in Mississippi. This is a cross-sectional study with 3,375 adults participants. There were 58% males, 42% females, 45% Caucasian, 54% African Americans, and 1% other minorities (Asian, Indian, and Pacific Islander) at intake into Mississippi United to End Homelessness' (MUTEH) Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) program. The data was collected during the initial screening of homeless individuals. The screening documented mental illness and utilization of healthcare. Frequency tables and Chi-SQ was used to test the relationship between mental illness and utilization of mental healthcare among the homeless in Mississippi. The result of the analysis revealed that 83% of the chronically homeless individual had a mental illness, and 78% of the chronically homeless participants were not receiving mental healthcare. Mental health services were successful in connecting mentally ill homeless individuals to mental healthcare in lieu of institutionalization. However, chronically homeless mentally ill individuals struggle with obtaining appropriate care.