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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 196-200

Homelessness and Mental Illness: Views from Early Career Psychiatrists from Asian Countries

1 Department of Psychiatry, Tehran, University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
3 Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
4 Department of Mental Health Services, National Center for Mental Health, Seoul, Korea
5 Department of Psychiatry, Devdaha Medical College, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Rupandehi, Nepal
6 Department of Psychiatry, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
7 Department of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom
8 Division of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan
9 Community Psychiatry Section, Indonesian Psychiatrist Association, Indonesia
10 Department of Psychiatry and NDDTC, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
11 Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes (AMH), Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Siddharth Sarkar
Department of Psychiatry and NDDTC, AIIMS, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_11_20

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Homelessness is an important social determinant of health. The information has been sparse on the relationship between homelessness and mental illnesses in Asian countries. In this perspective paper, we present the synthesis of viewpoints of early career psychiatrists from several Asian countries on the relationship of homelessness and mental illnesses. An online questionnaire was used to gather responses. The definition of homelessness was kept broad and included both temporary and lasting homelessness. The responses were synthesized into paragraphs to describe the perspective for the country. Although difficulties were experienced in the estimation of homelessness, the numbers of homeless individuals varied from practically negligible in Jordan to about 1.77 million in India. Mental health issues were present in the homeless population and included affective disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders. The psychiatrists generally had a considerate viewpoint toward treating the mentally ill homeless people. There is a need for more literature on the interface of homelessness and mental illness from Asian countries, especially where the homeless populations are substantial.

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