Homeless more prone to mental illness: Expert

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Lucknow, Feb 18 (UNI) Homeless people are more prone to mental illness than others, claimed an expert in the field of psychiatry.

The homeless population deserve special attention as it is the most vulnerable and disenfranchised population, according to Professor Rudra Prakash of Vanderbilt University in the United States.

''According to one survey, nearly one half of the homeless population was found to be having one or more chronic debilitating condition. These individuals are three to four times more likely to die than the general population,'' he said while delivering a lecture on 'Homeless and mental health' at the foundation day programme of department of pyschiatry of the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University, Quoting another survey, by a Los Angeles-based organisation, Dr Rudra Prakash said over a seven-and-a-half year period, homeless people have died at an average of at least one person per day. At the same time, the expert lamented a lack of data on homeless people across the globe.

Dr Prakash defined homelessness as not purely a housing based concept but also pertianing to emotional, social and pyschological dimension as well.

''Due to multi-dimensional nature of homelessness, a well-concerted effort by professionals and policy makers will have to be made to effectively address it. Global watchdog agencies will have to co-ordinate quality research in conjunction with regional stakeholders and formulate remedial measures,'' he added.

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