Re: Are most homeless people "mentally ill"? Who benefits by

Ronald J. Bartle (snuffy@snafu.de)
Sun, 07 Feb 1999 13:30:08 +0100


 
 
 
> Even with the appropriate diagnosis and medication, the
> complexities of manic-depression are such that patients
> live in denial. Sometimes they stop taking their
> medicine when they start to feel better, leaving them
> open to more intense episodes.
> 
> On this point, and many others, Ms. Jackson's is a case
> study in how manic-depressives can drift into
> homelessness and, if their problem is recognized,
> reclaim their lives. 

Tom - While the article I quote from above that you forwarded is 
of course interesting.. I don't quite follow some of the authors
assumptions.

He says "...if their problem is recongnised <they will be able to..>
reclaim their lives."

My question is - HOW!?

Who is going to see them.. who is going to correctly diagnose - who
would give a damm about them if a doc did see them an diagnose correctly
who is going to invest thausands of mann/work-hours in caring for
- assisting - informing providing emotional and ecconomic support
needed for a person who has spent some time on the streets - for
whatever
reason - to get back into mainstream society.

The local ngo's tend to expect a really good social/street worker
directly 
charged with helping recover folks from the streets - if he has
loads of resources - building for clothsstore.. washing maschines -
office staff - and or soup kitchen etc etc.. to be on average - able
to help one or two street ppl back into mainstream society every two
years.
Within a year mostly no person will be back towards mainstream society -
but
if he works with all these resources and with financial backing (here in 
German at the local costs etc..) of perhaps 45 - 65.000DM/a MONTH(!) for
buildings - equipment - share of salaries - material costs - cleaning
materials - power - water etc etc and keeps that up for 2 years - one
can statistically expect on average
one or two ppl to have made a major move towards social re-integration -
out of the 20 - 30 candidates with home the street/social worker has
medium to long-term contact.

Of course mostly it will be the exceptional few of the street people who
have just basically lost thier grip on things for a while - ended up
with no documentation and noone to vouch for thier identity- but with NO
major health or dependancy problems in addition who would be the ones
that one manages to help re-integrate themselves.

The vast majority of street ppl will wallow in thier circumstances -
being seen occasionally by phsyicians when they appear k.o. lying in the
way of a major pedestrian thouroughfare etc - but will be back at thier
_normal_ life-stype and places within hours or a 36 hours at most.  In
the main because nobody cares - nobody is "responsible" (ger. zustšndig)
for dealing with them.  These ppl are often disruptive and take every
oppotunity to flee a situation they suspect could at some stage become
restrictive.. ie has to do with a building on more than an hour or two's
basis etc etc.

I am of course not saying that we all should ever give-up.  Of course
not.
But the implication in the quoted article  of 'if only the diagnosis
happend - everything would be fine for the ppl!' imho rather illusiory
if not unhelpfull.

ron b.




ron b.
-- 
 Ron Bartle -       Royal Air Force Veteran -     Hobby Journalist
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