As a friend of The Well Community, you know that we serve adults living with chronic and severe mental illnesses. And I hope you have also become aware that, because of those conditions, our members face many daunting and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In our recent blogs, we have highlighted one of those challenges: homelessness. Nearly all of our members have been without safe and dependable shelter many times in their adult lives. In fact, even now, on any given night, more than a third of our members who attend regularly sleep in doorways, under bridges or just along the side of the road. Continue reading
Approximately one in four individuals who are homeless also deal with a serious mental illness, compared to one in 25 among the general population. In the 2019 Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance point-in-time homeless count, 55 percent of the homeless in North Texas self-reported living with a mental illness. While struggling with a mental health condition increases the likelihood that a person will become homeless, the connection works both ways: Being homeless or in insecure housing also makes it more difficult for those who live with these challenges to both pursue recovery and acquire stable housing. Below are five ways homelessness magnifies mental health struggles. Continue reading
A stable, affordable place to live can make a big difference in a person’s ability to pursue recovery while dealing with metal heath challenges. As Mental Health America of Greater Dallas states, “Safe, decent, clean housing is a key factor in recovery for individuals with mental illness.” But, for many, this housing is elusive. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), individuals dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders are often particularly vulnerable to becoming homeless or being precariously housed (they either have no shelter or they live in crowded apartments with friends or acquaintances in untenable situations and move often). Continue reading
As a child, Brian was treated as a troublemaker. Although his parents sensed something was wrong, they didn’t realize he was dealing with bipolar disorder.
Now, as an adult, Brain says he’s gotten used to people treating him differently because of mental illness. “When people hear that people [deal with] bipolar, a red flag goes up and they think you’re some kind of maniac. In general, they’re scared of you. They’re scared you’re going to get mad,” he shares. Continue reading
Mental illnesses impact people of all ethnicities and backgrounds. While treatment can make these conditions more manageable, many minority populations face challenges that make it more difficult for them to get the care they need. When left untreated, mental health issues can become more severe and can make life with them increasingly difficult to navigate. Continue reading
REFLECTIONS FROM ALICE ZACCARELLO, Executive Director
Our two featured blogs in March (Homelessness: A Roadblock to Recovery and At Home at Jacob’s House) have highlighted the relationship between mental illness and homelessness. The statistics are alarming, but the situation is even more desperate than the numbers indicate—because we are talking about PEOPLE. People who, through no choice nor fault of their own, are beset by brain disorders that prohibit them from basic human opportunities like work, security and dignity.
For members of The Well Community, safe, affordable and decent housing is an ongoing challenge. For some of them, because there is so little available, the streets are their only option. What can be done? Continue reading