The characteristics of 452 patients referred over a two year period to a psychiatric service for the homeless population in inner London are described. The majority of patients were male and Caucasian, and tended to be referred through voluntary sector as opposed to statutory services. Fifty-nine per cent were sleeping rough at the time of first contact, 80% had a previous history of psychiatric treatment, but only 6% were currently in contact with psychiatric services. Serious psychiatric disorders predominated, with 52% suffering from schizophrenia or delusional disorders.
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