WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Out of all of the United States, Los Angeles possesses the second-largest amount of homeless individuals. It is estimated that in 2019 the homeless population of Los Angeles reached close to a shocking 59,000. I remember the first time that I drove down Skid Row- the home to over 2,000 homeless people. I was 5 at the time and at a stoplight became fixated on a man who was clearly yelling at someone or something. This someone or something happened to be invisible to me and everyone else. This is a very common occurrence. Mental illness in the global homeless community is rampant. A recent study showed that an estimated 67% of the homeless population is mentally ill and without any kind of adequate health care in Los Angeles. For many people, they become homeless due to their mental illness, for others, they’re mental illness begins to show after they become homeless. It is important to understand this connection between homelessness and mental health. Psychological abnormalities can contribute significantly to homelessness due to the fact that in some cases an illness completely prevents one from functioning in a way that supports them financially. Mental illness can also be extremely isolating, disconnecting one from all forms of support. On the other hand, homelessness also contributes to mental health. For many people, living on the streets creates a vulnerability that can be beyond traumatic which can sometimes lead to the development of PTSD and depression.
MY RESPONSE: WHAT CAN WE DO
As I mentioned, this topic impacts all of us and one of the keys to the process of dealing with this is through education. By raising awareness and empathy around the topic of mental health and it’s role in the LA homeless crisis. I feel that there is a general sense of “turning-a-blind-eye” to this pressing issue and education around the subject is crucial.
2. PERMANENT AND LONG-TERM HOUSING
There are a handful of short-term health facilities for the homeless people of Los Angeles. While this helps in the moment, most of the time, after the person is released from a health facility they return to the streets and the issues continue. There is a shortage of places that help and continue to help the homeless in Los Angeles. It is frequent that someone’s battle with a mental illness does not just disappear after weeks of treatment and because of this, it is important to begin thinking about more permanent possibilities.
HOW WILL YOU HELP
In the comments below please share (1) why you think this topic is somewhat ignored, (2) other ideas you have for dealing with this issue, (3) what you think you can do on as an individual to help this process. Also please share any overall questions or comments you have!