It is well recognised that there is an increased psychiatric morbidity, in particular psychosis, personality disorder and substance abuse, among the single homeless (Lodge Patch et al, 1971). The reasons for this are complex. There is evidence that these people are mentally ill before becoming homeless and that their illness may be a cause of their homelessness. In a study of newly presenting patients at the DHSS Reception Centre in Camberwell, London, Tidmarsh & Wood found that 87% of those with mental illness had been staying recently with their families just before their first hospital admission, suggesting that mental illness may have led to homelessness in these patients (Tidmarsh & Wood, 1972). Although direct evidence is scant in the UK, it is felt that the closure of long-stay psychiatric hospitals could lead to some of their in-patients becoming homeless.
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