Studies Show That Nearly 50% of the Homeless Have Suffered Brain Injury

March 17, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

brown brain

Long stereotyped addicted and unstable, it has now been confirmed that half of homeless people have a history of brain injury at some point in their lives according by a BC study. Homelessness is a public health and safety concern and in recent years has become rampant in many larger Canadian cities. The exact causes of homelessness are often misunderstood by the public and managing the homeless population has pre-occupied many politicians.

The study has found that the history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been an underappreciated contributor to homelessness, and the challenges the homeless face.  The study which looked at 463 previous research papers on the homeless found nearly half of the homeless population had a lifetime history of TBI and that the same people were associated with worse physical and mental health. They also had a higher rate of suicide, cognitive challenges, increased health service use and higher rates of involvement with the criminal justice system than the rest of the population.

Homeless individuals experience markedly poorer mental and physical health than the general population, including a high prevalence of psychotic disorders, major depression, and drug and alcohol dependence, and a high prevalence of infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. Homeless and similarly marginalised individuals also have substantially higher all-cause mortality than the general population.  Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a pervasive and under-recognised public health problem. TBI is associated with a number of deleterious outcomes, with meta-analytic evidence providing a link for the subsequent development of neurological and psychiatric disorders.  TBI is often preventable, and thus might represent a modifiable risk factor for serious psychiatric illness and neurodegenerative disease.

The lifetime prevalence of TBI is high among homeless and marginally housed individuals, and a history of TBI is associated with poorer health and general functioning. Health-care providers and public health officials should have an increased awareness of the burden of TBI in this population. 

In the general population 22% of us report a lifetime occurrence of TBI. Usually TBIs occur as a result of sports accidents, slip and falls, car accidents and physical assaults. When you sustain a brain injury the brain bounces in the scull and can cause issues with micro tears, bleeding and swelling. Subsequent TBIs occur more easily and the impacts are more severe.

Homeless populations live high risk lifestyles. Physical assaults, addiction and poor health exacerbate their condition.

There is much room for further study of how we can address the homeless plight. If we can prevent the initial TBIs or diagnose and treat them quickly and effectively we may be able to keep some people from ending up on the streets.


Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Brain Injury, Car Accidents, Concussion Syndrome, Personal Injury, Slip and Fall Injury, concussion, traumatic brain injury

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