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Mental Illness and Homelessness

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

For the past ten years, homelessness has increased for many reasons. It would take a book to dive into each one of them, but here are a few:

  • Political Chaos

  • Economic pressures

  • Increase in poverty

  • Racial tensions, riots, and social unrest

  • Major city leaders turning a blind eye to the growing problem

  • Police are on the front lines of attempting to intervene in mental health and are NOT trained to do so.

  • Lack of clinicians available or willing to work on the streets to reach out

  • Government officials are moving homeless in and out of hotels and other locations to remove them from the streets but not getting to the core of the problem (shuffling the deck)

  • Homeless supporters and coalitions fighting to allow them to remain on the street with their belongings regardless of rules, neighborhood quality of life, and safety, blocking sidewalks, building tent cities everywhere, and tapping into government water supplies and utilities.

  • Mental Health and civil rights advocates fighting involuntary psychiatric admissions

  • The changing of the definition to qualify for a 72-hour hold (harm to themselves or others), red tape, and lack of resources

  • The severe and deadly drug epidemic

  • Addicts are given drug rigs, safe shooting-up facilities, and no repercussions for illegal drug use. They are enabled.

  • Bail reform has taken any fear out of using, selling, or being caught with drugs.

  • Covid 19 has changed the entire healthcare system. It is already stressed and taxed for physical disease and conditions, mental health has taken a back seat to everything, and it is heartbreaking.

In addition to mental health, addiction and suicide rates are on the rise year after year.

Fentanyl is the 2022 crack.

Suicide is a major contributor to premature death in the United States, especially among people aged 10–34, for whom it is the second leading cause of death (1).

Why are we turning a blind eye to cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago? I don't care what your politics are; living on the streets is unsafe for the homeless, neighbors, businesses, transportation, and anyone working or living there. Dr. Phil discussed this phenomenon with Joe Rogan in October and had some excellent points. Here is the link. Even if you hate both of these individuals, take the time to listen to this discussion. Dr. Phil makes valid points.

Mayor Eric Adams announced a major effort on Tuesday to remove people with severe, untreated mental illness from the city’s streets and subways, saying New York had “a moral obligation” to address “a crisis we see all around us.”

The effort will involve hospitalizing people involuntarily, even if they do not pose an immediate risk of harm to others.

Since the pandemic, a series of high-profile random attacks in the streets and subways has left many New Yorkers feeling that the city has become more unpredictable and dangerous. Many of those charged in the attacks have been people struggling with both mental illness and homelessness, leading to demands from many quarters that elected officials take steps to address these problems.

I don't think he is wrong. You have got to start somewhere. This will take a massive initiative, but it is a start. Continuing to "hide" these people in hotels and shuffling them around is not the answer. Enabling drug use and not holding drug dealers accountable is a part of it. Do I have thoughts on how adding 50 beds in the city will help this massive problem? Yes, but I will try and be optimistic that it is a start. Winter is coming, and those on the street will freeze. Washington must get tough on the channels that fentanyl is entering our country. How many overdoses do we need to have for this administration to act?

I recently drove up broadway from midtown to get out of the city. I usually will take the FDR or West Side Highway. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it looks like a zombie apocalypse. People are clearly on drugs wandering into traffic with no fear. You have to pray that you don't get caught at a light in some areas. I'm not a huge fan of the mayor, but he has to start somewhere.

1 Comment

Nov 30, 2022

People with mental illnesses on the street are there because of a broken system. The system has too many cracks for people to fall through, it's not just one thing. Yes, they are a danger to society and themselves. However I don't think it's so cut and dry as to how to deal with it. Because their individual needs vary, the approach must vary, also. Some are out there with their kids and dogs, etc, and can't go to a shelter because of that. Some are homeless because they lost their job. And can't seem to get back on their feet.. it is so many reasons... Yes, drugs do pay a part, and this is partly why we can't have…

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