Living With Schizophrenia


Posted: Thursday, July 5th, 2018

(Image: Photographee.eu on Shutterstock)

One wonders just what foreign visitors must think about the increasing numbers of rough sleeping homeless people seen around the centres of every large town and city in the UK. And this issue is getting worse with rough sleeper numbers up by 169 percent since 2010 according to homeless charity Crisis.

What is also clear is that a large proportion of rough sleepers are suffering from mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Official numbers for this problem are difficult to come by but Exeter charity St Petrocks think that over half of their clients have some sort of mental health condition. In the US, where more research has been done, some studies have concluded that up to 10% of the rough sleeping population there are suffering from schizophrenia.

It should not surprise us that the mentally ill are ending up on the streets. In parallel with the increase in rough sleeping we have also seen the National Health Service progressively closing inpatient beds in the Mental Health Service for many years. A recent BBC Panorama programme estimated that around 25% of inpatient beds in mental health have disappeared since 2000.

Whilst the romantic notion of the rough sleeper as the idealistic “man-of-the-road” rejecting society’s comforts and mores for an independent free spirit lifestyle may appeal to some, the reality is that rough sleepers have appallingly high death rates exacerbated by inadequate living conditions and poor access to health care. Rough sleeping is inevitably accompanied by inadequate diets and poor living conditions. Drug and alcohol abuse, accidental death and hypothermia are common and living on the streets is far from conducive to managing long term physical conditions like diabetes or epilepsy.

With the high suicide rate and higher risk of physical illness like heart disease that people with schizophrenia already face the rough sleeping issue only adds to the enormous burden of suffering that people living with schizophrenia have to bear.

The problem of rough sleeping amongst people living with schizophrenia has been ignored in this country for far too long. We must wake up to the enormous amount of suffering that rough sleeping imposes on people with schizophrenia who have a right to expect the highest quality of psychiatric care. While we go on cutting beds in the Mental Health Service more people with schizophrenia will end up on the streets. We must stop this inhumane and short-sighted policy now.

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7 Responses

  1. J.hunt says:

    I quite agree as a parent of an adult child with schizophrenia.

  2. George says:

    Excellent article I have Schizophrenia and I will be forced onto the streets in 2019 I will receive no medicine its a joke I will be another statistic. I hope you are lobbying MP’s and the Government to take this seriously I will probably end up dead as I don’t know what to do I am on rispirdone and the side effects are terrible I have the shakes, tremors and twitching so I can’t even beg as no one will talk or give me anything.

    I am unsure of everything I don’t even know where to get a sleeping bag from the medicine stops the voices but makes your mind cloudy so I am stuffed.


    • David Bell says:

      Thank you for your kind comments about our piece George. I was really sorry to hear about your plight and I hope something works out for you. Take care, David, Website Editor.

  3. Cameo says:

    I live in the United States, about 2 years ago I became depressed and homeless. The homelessness caused my depression to spiral. I also became suicidal. I had no one. I lost hope in everything. I even lost hope in the Lord, but I prayed for him everyday. I was diagnosed with bipolar . During my depression I started righting asking God to help rid me of sickness and addiction . I also ask him to help me be kind and to help me be a better human . I also asked him to remove all hate, anger and sadness from my heart. I have been writing these manifestations for about a year. Six months ago I had a vision and the Lord came to me and said There was something I needed to do and I could help people . I did not understand this vision but I started reading a lot about God and the universe . I am suppose to help people how to find God through me. Since I started writing I am not depressed or Bi-polar my symptoms are almost gone. I am Kinder I don’t have Hate, anger or sadness weighing me down. My addiction issues are a lot better . I have heard voice for the past 3 months. I did not understand them I thought they were real. I almost killed myself and I almost hurt others . Luckily I could control myself, but I would not give up on trying to understand these voices. I have learned the voices weren’t in my head. I was picking the up off outside sounds. For instance the heater, t.v, the refrigerator, sounds from cars and noises from machine’s . I have also came to the conclusion that there may be something wrong with my ears that is causing me to pick up these sounds then they enter into my subconscious then I start to hear the voices. Which usually surround my thoughts and how I feel about myself. I also realised that I had been listening to head phones really loud and this could have done something to my ears. Before my depression got bad I had always felt like I have had a deeper purpose. Like I have always been missing something . The thing I was missing God and I found him by writing my prayer to be Kinder a better human basically cause that is truly who God is. It is what all humans should want and pray for. I have read some books books but God is inside you . Look inside you , you will find God and you will understand your purpose. This is my purpose I am mentally ill . I am suppose to teach other’s who are experiencing homelessness , mental illness. I am suppose to teach How to find God through me. I am convinced I am going to help change the world with the things I have learned through God and my mental illness . Believe cause anything is possible only you can make it impossible. The people who suffer are the only ones strong and humble enough to change the world. Look inside yourselves and believe in yourselves . We are the ones God and the universe has a gift for. The gift is inside you. Believe and be willing to learn

  4. Leslie says:

    My sister is schizophrenic and is living on the street in another state. I called people for help hoping they would give her emergency treatment. They sent a mobile crisis unit out to evaluate her. They asked her if she knew her name, DOB and the day of the week. Since she answered they left and that was the end of it. They said she has to be a danger to herself and others before they can do anything. This is terrible. I’m so worried about her. We’ve been down to try and get her to come back home multiple times but she refuses and we can’t force her. I’m so afraid she’s going to die on the street.

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