Mental illness can contribute to homelessness when symptoms become so severe that the person can't function. For example, he or she might be so disorganized as to be unable to maintain a job (and thus pay rent or make house payments). Also, specific symptoms of mental health disorders , such as the manic state of bipolar disorder or the psychotic symptoms and paranoia of schizophrenia (paranoia, though, isn't always present in schizophrenia) can not only make it hard to work or care for oneself but can also severely isolate the person when others don't know what to do.
Mental Health Australia is the peak, national non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector and committed to achieving better mental health for all Australians. It was established in 1997 as the first independent peak body in Australia to truly represent the full spectrum of mental health stakeholders and issues. Mental Health Australia members include national organisations representing consumers, carers, special needs groups, clinical service providers, public and private mental health service providers, researchers and state/territory community mental health peak bodies.
It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous or more distressing combination of problems to befall any one person than to be homeless and to suffer from a severe mental illness. Yet those who are homeless and mentally ill are often diagnosed with many accompanying disabilities—such as drug addiction, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and tuberculosis. Mentally ill homeless people tend to be the sickest, the most ragged, and the most difficult people for society to accept. In addition, because rationality itself is compromised by mental illness, they are often the least able to help themselves, either economically or medically, and thus they slide more deeply into danger.