Mental illness, addiction, and homelessness

Mental illness, addiction, and homelessness are three different issues. It’s possible to live with one without also experiencing the others.

Yet, they often seem to go together. Why is that?
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  • People who live with severe mental illness are often vulnerable to losing stable housing. The same is true of people with substance use disorders:
    1. Some landlords will evict tenants who show symptoms of mental illness or substance use.
    2. Some employers will fire employees who show symptoms of mental illness or substance use. Without employment, people may risk homelessness.
  • People with mental illness may be at risk to develop substance use disorders. (The risk factors may be environmental, neurological, or both.) People with substance use disorders may develop mental illness.
  • To be homeless is tremendously stressful, possibly contributing to a person developing a mental illness or a substance use disorder.

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