May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

The month of May is nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, meaning many resources are being shared regarding ways to find mental health support, ending stigma, and bringing awareness to illnesses that millions of people live with every day. However, few of these resources focus on the ways mental health interacts with other issues, such as the homeless.

Many researchers have found that between 20-30 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness suffer from mental illness. According to Peter Tarr, Ph.D. from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, “affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders are among the most common types of mental illness in the homeless population.”

In many cases, environment and stressful or traumatic life events are linked to the development of mental illness. This exacerbates the likelihood that those who are at-risk or who are currently experiencing homelessness will develop a mental illness or may already be living with one.

The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) states that “serious mental illnesses disrupt people’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self-care and household management.” This means that mental illness can affect one’s ability to maintain relationships and stay on top of responsibilities that can prevent someone from experiencing homelessness. In many situations, those who live in poverty may not have access to resources and support to address their mental health needs.

Waypoint believes that homelessness is a serious issue that must be addressed and supported through programs such as providing temporary and emergency housing, Centralized Intake, Rapid Re-Housing, Coordinated Entry, and more.


Within the state of Iowa and Cedar Rapids, there are many affordable and accessible ways to receive mental health care and support. To find mental health resources, check out the links below:

●      Linn County Mental Health Access Center

●      Linn County Mental Health & Counseling Resources

●      Iowa Division of Mental Health and Disability Services

To learn more about mental health awareness and homelessness, check out the resources below:

●      National Alliance on Mental Illness

●      National Alliance to End Homelessness

●      National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH)

●      Resources to Recover

●      Mental Health America

Ways to Help End Homelessness

Join Waypoint in taking a stand to end homelessness by getting involved in the following ways:

●      Host a Donation Drive: collect non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, and new household items for Waypoint clients

●      Volunteer: play an important role in connecting homeless and nearly homeless individuals with tailored services through a variety of opportunities in the Housing Services Program

●      Donate: make a gift to Housing Services to empower individuals and families facing a housing crisis to move forward in their lives


Written by: Kailey Blunk, Resource Development & Marketing intern


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