Homeless with Mental Illness-Rather Hopeless

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The other day, I was in The Lake City on an errand for work. One rarely goes to Salt Lake City, (probably any big city) without noticing people on the corner with signs. The signs used range from the desperate to humorous, and everything in between. One read: “Being honest, need beer.” Another: “Food for me and my dog” Some people stop and hand over some money, and some don’t. Sometimes I give them some money and sometimes, I don’t.

Please don’t burn the calories to write to me saying that these people need to just get a job. If you find yourself thinking this, chances are, you probably know very little about mental illness; and further, how it is closely related to addiction and how the two make diagnosis and treatment a challenge indeed for the individual and a true problem for communities.

This particular day though, the words of one sign were simple: “need a little help please.” These words struck me for where I was in my thoughts that day, because we’ve all been there. We have all felt just that and could we have had a sign to show, I suppose we would have done so.

Everything about mental illness is such a cycle. Like everyone, people with brain disorders need support. They need shelter, rest and they need sleep. For people with brain disorders, sleep and rest are especially important to their mental health. When homeless, or in a similarly stressful situation, with little to no consistency or regularity in schedule, symptoms are easily caused, or worsened. It is next to impossible to be free of severe symptoms without sound sleep. This makes it next to impossible to obtain, or hold down a job. It is nearly impossible to experience a good night’s sleep when there is no home to do this in.

The cycle is easily seen.

Sleep, security, and support are needs that everyone has. People with brain disorders (mental illness) are even more severely impacted when any one of these, or all three are missing or lacking from their lives. It literally makes everything for them many times harder. Noise, housing, lack of support, misunderstanding/miscommunication from family members are all factors that can have a major influence on a person’s severity of symptoms and recovery. These are big issues. They are issues that are affected by every part of society, and also affect every part of society.

Mental health and mental illness is big. Everyone is affected; so everyone needs to be on board with their own part to play. This is no longer solely a family and loved ones issue. Governments, employers, officers, lawmakers, families, communities, healthcare practitioners, individuals, loved ones-all have a part to play. Almost everyone has or will experience stressful symptoms that can come and go, or linger. All can benefit from learning and applying tips on mental health, whether diagnosed with a mental illness or not.

Mental illness is about compassion, education, understanding and support. For more information about mental illness please visit NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/
See also: http://www.samhsa.gov/

Also, please consider the things I have proposed in my two books about well-being, the ripple influence it has throughout all aspects of life and the lives of others. I am proposing new approaches throughout my books and this website about mental illness, mental health and wellness.

Thank you for considering. Thank you for reading. Thank you for becoming educated.


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