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         Mental Illness
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‘Out of the depths


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THE HOMELESS















A homeless person’s shelter under a fallen Willow tree in New South Wales, Australia.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)


“A Mission Australia study has found that homeless men experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at levels more than four times the Australian mainstream male population and even higher than returned servicemen.


The report found that 20 per cent of the men screened positive for PTSD. This is more than four times higher than Australia’s mainstream male population, where the rate is 4.6 per cent.


“We’ve known anecdotally for a long time that homeless people experience higher levels of violent victimisation, such as physical and sexual assault. That’s because, by the nature of not having a safe and secure home to go to, they are more visible and exposed.


“We’ve also known for a while that struggling with mental health is a contributing factor to people becoming homeless in the first place, and which also prevents them from being able to maintain independent accommodation,” Mr Thomas said.


“So we are not surprised that there is a relatively high level of distress among this group. But what is so surprising is that the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for these men is so high – even higher than that of returned servicemen who have been to warzones and experienced combat, the death or significant injury of a comrade or injury to themselves.”


Of the men surveyed, 89 per cent had experienced at least one traumatic event in their life. The most commonly experienced trauma was being threatened with a weapon or being held captive, witnessing another person being seriously injured or killed, and being physically abused. Half the respondents had been involved in a life-threatening accident and almost one quarter had been sexually molested.


Mr Thomas said that while the results were worrying, it did confirm what services have been reporting. Mission Australia’s internal data confirms that frontline service staff in homelessness services often spend more time helping people with mental health needs than they do dealing with homelessness.”


Extract from:



Download the report at this link:

Homeless men suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at higher levels than returned servicemen MISHA Baseline Report 2012