A troubling finding, that some half of the homeless have suffered traumatic brain injury. Perhaps this care in the community idea wasn’t all that sensible after all?
Half of all homeless people may have suffered a traumatic brain injury at some point in their life, according to new research – which experts say could be either a consequence or even the cause of their homelessness.
Traumatic brain injury is sudden damage caused by a blow or jolt to the head, which can be caused by a motor accident, a fall or an assault. Sometimes it can cause long-term damage to the brain, leading to neurological and psychiatric disorders.
A large study compiling research results from six high-income countries – Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US – found that 53% of homeless people had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This, estimate the authors, could be 2.3 to four times the rate for the population as a whole.
The research neatly settles that question of whether the entire population suffers from such or not.
Note that this is proper homelessness,. rough sleeping, not that 300,000 number we get from Shelter and the like which is actually the number of people the welfare state saves from homelessness. It’s the 5,000 on any one night, near 10,000 over a year that is being discussed here.
It also at least coincides with what we know about rough sleepers. There are two groups here, one is runaways, those just evicted and so on who might be out for a night or two. They shouldn’t be, of course, but no system will ever be perfect. And the system, as it is, does deal with these pretty well. Such peeps get aided rather swiftly, every pile of blankets in a doorway does get asked whether they’d like some help.
Then there are the longer termers and research shows that near all of them suffer from one or more of significant mental health, drug or alcohol addictions problems. These are not people who cannot find a home, these are people who cannot stay in one.
At which point, this research, far too many are addled by a significant blow to the head. Perhaps the closing of the institutions wasn’t all that good an idea then?