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Mental health of homeless people in China amid and beyond COVID-19

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-09-26, 13:50 authored by Zhaohui Su, Barry BentleyBarry Bentley, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Dean McDonnell, Junaid Ahmad, Sabina Šegalo, Claudimar Pereira da Veiga, Yu-Tao Xiang

 Homelessness is seldom a choice. Oftentimes, homeless-ness reflects the systemic failures that can result fromsocial issues being dismissed or disregarded.1Globally,approximately 1.6 billion people lack adequate housing,with 15 million more individuals being evicted on anannual basis.2This situation is often profoundly worse inlow- and middle-income countries like China. It is esti-mated that 300 million people in the country—home to1.4 billion Chinese—are homeless.3However, despite thescale of this issue, China does not have a robust healthand social infrastructure—preventive and proactive sys-temsthatcouldensurepeoplehavestableandsustainableaccess to opportunities that are essential to their survival(e.g., food and shelter) and growth (e.g., training, educa-tion, and employment programs)—for homeless people.Research shows that, for instance, rather than relying onservices provided by the local government, homeless peo-ple in Shanghai, one of the most advanced metropolitanareas in China, often have to address basic needs such asfood and shelter on their own,4let alone illnesses thatdemand structured mental or physical health services. 


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The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific




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Su, Z., Bentley, B.L., Cheshmehzangi, A., McDonnell, D., Ahmad, J., Šegalo, S., da Veiga, C.P. and Xiang, Y.T., (2022) 'Mental health of homeless people in China amid and beyond COVID-19', The Lancet Regional Health–Western Pacific, 25.

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Barry Bentley

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