Explaining the clinical key question (homelessness): 2

London is a large capital city and many aspects of city life have been linked to stress which may trigger the onset of mental health problems. This is known as the environmental breeder social causation hypothesis.

  • The anonymity of city-life would only be exaggerated yet further for people who are homeless as commuters hurry past without a second glance leading to feelings of alienation and stigmatisation. This could result in poor self esteem due to being part of a marginalized out-group. According to cognitive psychologists such as Beck, negative self schemas put people heightened risk of depression
  • Pollution: Noise, light and traffic fumes could all link to mental health issues;
    • constant light would interfere with sleep patterns, the light stops melatonin being produced making sleep difficult and lack of sleep has been linked to psychosis
    • Traffic fumes contains chemicals which could be neuro-toxic for people who are living on the streets; recent research has shown that living close to a main road is linked to greater risk of dementia (Chen et al 2017) and Oudin (2016) linked air pollution and mental ill-health in children in Sweden
  • Pederson and Mortensen showed that living in a capital city increased the risk of having a mental health condition by XXX (look this up!) and thus being homeless in capital city must only further increase this already elevated risk, especially as austerity cuts affect the most vulnerable groups the most.

Competing argument: Social Drift

One the other hand it should be noted that the social drift hypothesis suggests that people with mental health issues may end up cities even though they started out living elsewhere and this may be due to clusters of services, particularly state funded and/or voluntary agencies/charities that can only afford buildings in cheaper downtown areas, such as Skid Row in LA, as depicted in the film The Soloist.

Evaluation: Goldberg and Morrison