Mentally Ill Homeless Population Not Getting Help

Mentally Ill Homeless Population Not Getting Help

– It’s a national crisis that affects every single
city in this country, whether it’s metropolitan or rural, homelessness has no boundaries. – [Narrator] We have seen the horrors of homelessness rise in recent years. Reminders of encampments, people with signs on
the side of the highway, and tent filled communities
are seen on the news every day. But it’s a new outbreak
within the homeless community that has lawmakers and citizens beginning to panic and wonder what should be done. According to the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, outbreaks of hepatitis A have spread through Delaware, Florida,
and South Carolina. And in California, a surge of typhus with typhoid fever popped up throughout the homeless community. As communicable diseases spread throughout American communities, federal and state officials are struggling to figure out ways to
ease the homeless problem without burdening taxpayers. With the homeless, our
streets, and health at stake, what can be done to help the situation? – Dr. Drew, this is a
problem on so many levels and a true public health crisis. – One hundred percent. This is a mental health catastrophe. The vast majority of people on the streets have a
mental health diagnosis. I’ve been out on the streets, 100% of the people I interact with have either substance abuse or
a major psychiatric disorder. Now, there are people that
are transiently homeless, on average spend about
three months on the street and find their way off, there’s lot of resources for them, we have to be very concerned
about that population, they do not have a
mental health diagnosis. But the people we see on
the street in the tents that are so concerning to us, that are becoming the
public health problem, mental health is the problem. We choked off our state
mental health system. There is no constitutional mandate for our federal government to do anything about mental health, and we have no system of
state mental health resources, so people go to the street. We belch people out of our
state mental health hospitals into streets, nursing homes, and jails. They don’t belong in the jails either, but this is a total mess,
and in the meantime, they’re languishing on the streets, you can’t help them unless they want it, unless they ask for help, the rodents have overpopulated our city, I knew there was a
problem when my own home became overrun by rats. I also have practiced medicine forever in the San Gabriel Valley and I know when rats come, typhus follows. My own son had typhus, so lo and behold, outbreak of typhus. Now the big problem, we’re in the middle of a
typhus outbreak right now. Don’t mistake that for typhoid fever, that’s another thing we’ve got, which is a fecal-oral-borne illness, not a rat-flea-borne illness. Typhus is what concerns me because what follows typhus is something
called Yersinia pestis, also called? – Bubonic Plague! – Bubonic plague. We have plague, the last plague
outbreak in the country was in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Yersinia is in the squirrels,
it gets into the rats, it’s going to get into us. I’ve spoken to experts
who say it’s inevitable. I am profoundly concerned
about us handling this problem before it’s too late. – And Dr. Drew, as you stated, most homeless people have
a mental health issue, they were lost in the system. They may have been seen at one time, but they’re no longer
on their medications. Until they have a true
psychotic bad episode, they get arrested, they get sent to the mental health hospitals, which don’t have enough
room to handle them, it’s a vicious circle.


  1. Something needs to be done to help these people! I don't have any idea how but I think it should start with government officials coming up with a plan. So many of the homeless want help but don't know how to get it. It's a real problem. I've watched a lot of interviews with the homeless on a YouTube channel called Soft White Underbelly and many of those interviews are heartbreaking.

  2. A good solution could be to use all of these foreclosed homes. Especially for homeless families. And homeless veterans.

  3. We need more mental institutions and less prisons they dont get help in prison not all have mental health issues half are just drug addicts but we should screen them for either institutions or prison or help them get back on there feet for those that can

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