Fighting the Stigma on Homelessness & Mental Health

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“A very large percent of our homeless population have a mental health disorder. Many times it was the mental health that eventually landed them in the homeless situation to begin with,” said health teacher Brenda Alapa

Now, I’m not saying that sometimes it’s not someone’s fault as to why they may be homeless. I’m saying that a lot of times homelessness and mental health have a correlation. Sometimes, or in these cases, a lot of times, someone’s mental health can lead to someone becoming homeless.

For most people suffering from a mental illness, they are unable to find or even keep a job, as well as are more likely to have a partial or incomplete education because of dropping out or being unable to maintain grades.

A study found that 28 percent of homeless suffer from at least one severe mental disorder. So why do we bash and slander our homeless for something they can’t control? Tons of people everyday make comments like, “get a job,” or call names and make comments about them being crazy or bring up things like “they’re druggies” or “crackheads.”

Yes, sometimes drugs and alcohol use can lead someone to homelessness on their own accord, but someone who has a mental disorder most times end up using drugs and alcohol to ‘self-medicate’ themselves.

Would you tell someone with asthma to “just breathe?” No, so why would you tell someone with a mental disorder to “try harder to get better” or to “just get a job?”

Why comment and judge someone we don’t know or even judge something we don’t know about? We have no clue of these people’s backstories, and we don’t know why they are where they are. We need to change our view on those around us and look past ignorance. Be a better you by starting somewhere small.