Mental health statistics: homelessness

Homelessness is an increasing issue within the UK. Evidence shows that there is a considerable link between homelessness and mental health problems; however, this link is often overlooked. 

  • In 2014, 80% of homeless people in England reported that they had mental health issues, with 45% having been diagnosed with a mental health condition.1
  • Studies have reported a higher prevalence of mental health problems in the homeless population in comparison to the general population, including major depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Statistics suggest the prevalence of mental health conditions in this population to be at least 25–30% of the street homeless and those in direct access hostels.2
  • The most prevalent health problems among homeless individuals are substance misuse (62.5%), mental health problems (53.7%) or a combination of the two (42.6%). In England, given that these problems are causally linked with homelessness, they add significantly more costs to homelessness due to the need for health and social care support. Unfortunately, the exact figure of estimated costs is unavailable at present.3
  • Like many marginalised groups, the relationship between homelessness and mental health can be two way. Many homeless people cite mental health problems as a reason for being homeless - 26% of homeless people in the UK (this is double the percentage of that in the rest of the EU).4

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  1. Homeless Link. (2014). The unhealthy state of homelessness: Health audit results 2014. Retrieved from The%20unhealthy%20state%20of%20homelessness%20 FINAL.pdf [Accessed 04/08/16].
  2. Folsom, D.P., Hawthorne, W., Lindamer, L., Gilmer, T., Bailey, A., Golshan, S. … & Jeste, D.V. (2005). Prevalence and risk factors for homelessness and utilization of mental health services among 10,340 patients with serious mental illness in a large public mental health system. American Journal of Psychology, 162(2), 370–376.
  3. Department for Communities and Local Government. (2012). Evidence review of the costs of homelessness. Retrieved from [Accessed 02/06/16].
  4. Beaumont, J. (2011). Housing. London: ONS.