It’s hard to overstate the weight of poverty in the lives of those dealing with mental illnesses. Poverty can both increase the likelihood that a person will suffer from mental health challenges and make it more difficult for those already living with these struggles to pursue recovery.
Many intertwining factors related to poverty create a tangled cycle for those living with mental health conditions. For example, a serious mental illness can make it difficult for a person to hold down a job. As a result of being out of work, they may be unable to afford healthy food or a bus pass to get to a doctor’s appointment, adding extra hurdles in managing their illness. They may lose their housing, further eroding their ability to pursue stability. And, as they lack the resources necessary to take steps to improve their mental health, they remain unable to work and their condition may become an even greater struggle. Continue reading
Residents of Jacob’s House enjoy their backyard
“I love them all,” says neighbor Nancy Templeton from the front porch of Jacob’s House, a place she often finds herself sitting and chatting with the men who live there. A longtime resident of the Oak Cliff neighborhood, Nancy speaks highly of the individuals who live next door. “They’re all great guys,” she says, and as an older woman who no longer drives, she values being able to walk over to the house to talk. 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