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Homelessness - The Tip of the Iceburg

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by LissaKay, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    The Mentally Ill Deserve Better Care

    It is a well-known fact that the majority of the homeless are suffering from one or more mental illnesses. When are we, as a Nation, going to realize that this is a problem that will not go away, and will likely become much worse? Is it too late?
  2. Jedi Writer

    Jedi Writer Guest

    Yes, its too late. And that is very sad.

    It was because of money or the lack thereof combined with a certain apathy to the mentally ill that caused the shut down of the hospitals and discontinuation of treatment that you speak about. We are even more apathetic now than we were then.

    Plus, people are genuinely confused about the "homeless." Part of this is due to special interests groups and disinformation about the homeless.

    To the average American the homeless just represents one class of people. Those without homes who are living on the street. Often in peoples minds, sometimes even at the subconscious level they equate homelessness as a choice or the fault of those who are homeless. Consequently, there is a lack of motivation to help them.

    In my opinion the homeless in California can be classified or broken down as follows:

    1. Mentally ill
    2. Drug addicts or alcoholics
    3. People who are not homeless but pretend to be to ask you for money
    4. The actual homeless who choose to be simply because they don't want to work or have responsibility and choose to drop out.
    5. Those who are homeless for reasons beyond their control.

    We are not going to help to any significant degree those in categories 1, 2, 3, and 4. To a degree many do not what to be helped such as certain drug and alcohol abusers and the mentally ill.

    We are limited in helping the mentally ill not only for reasons already discussed but further by organization such as the ACLU. There as been more than one case where you have had a mentally ill homeless person on the street living like an animal because they suffer from mental illness and lack medication needed to successfully treat them. When they have been offered the treatment they decline because of their illness. When some authority tries to see that they have to take the medication the ACLU steps in and files suit or raises a stink saying you can't do that--you are violating that person's rights by making them take something against their will.

    Then there are the cases of mentally ill that hang out in a certain area and scare people by their behavior and sometimes threats. Whenever some action is attempted to have them removed, once again you have the ACLU and other types screaming you can't do that because you are violating their civil rights.

    The ACLU sure as heck didn't cause that person's problem or homelessness but they sure as heck aren't helping.

    Finally, life for the non-homeless part of society has become with the passing of the past several decades ever more stressful emotionally and financially. When one is in such a condition they are not especially inclined to focus their time or efforts toward the homeless.

    Like I said, it is sad. Really.
  3. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    This is paragraph 7 of the linked article.

    So even though it is accepted that it is bad to turn mental patients away from care, the state of Massachusetts has done so anyway. Next we will hear the pissing and moaning about the increase in the homeless population and the problems that brings.

    It is unfortunate that many adults with mental illness refuse to seek out appropriate health care. The states refuse to step in and force them unless they become a physical danger to themselves or others, and even then, only until the immediate danger passes. Then the ACLU sues for their civil rights, as you said, JW. I am the first in line to shout and advocate that medical care should not be forced on people, but I reserve that for those with sound minds and the ability to make wise judgements. But where is the line drawn?
  4. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    I can see why the ACLU sues on behalf of homeless mentally ill persons - the ACLU sues on their behalf because they are the extreme cases. They must be defended since they are the lowest common denominator - that way, others who are mentally ill don't get taken advantage of. I could tell you horror stories about mentally ill people staying in hospitals, where you would think they were being taken care of, but in actuality they are being abused. And they receive this treatment WITH the ACLU defending them - can you imagine what these people would go through if not? We'd be back in the early days of Mental health facilities.

    On the one hand, I see the frustration in this situation. How can mentally ill people be allowed to refuse treatment, right? How can states cut funding on something so obviously needed?

    On the flip side, taxpayers can't afford to pay any more taxes. We need a reprieve. Treatment is very expensive, and it gets more and more expensive as the years go by. Doctors don't want to not get paid. Facilities don't want to allow use of their property free of charge. Drug companies won't ever allow a segment of the population free meds. And insurance companies won't ever cover someone with a pre-existing condition - and even if they did, most homeless people couldn't afford the monthly premiums. Hell, most working people can't afford the monthly premiums on a single policy.

    So what's left? Sure cutting these programs isn't going to make the amount of money people pay any less, but that very same money can then be put into other social programs that could use it.

    And the worst part about this whole thing is that no one knows what the best thing to do is. The stereotype of the lazy, drug addicted homeless person is alive and well in people's minds - as long as people view homelessness as a lifestyle choice, homelessness won't be a top priority.

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