Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New HUD Report Show Trends of Homelessness

If you ask provider of homeless services in your community what a “typical” homeless person in shelter looks like, they may give you an entirely different answer than a provider in my community would give me. Homelessness doesn’t look the same across the nation, across a state, or even across a community.
It’s true that homeless person is unique, which makes it difficult to understand what homelessness looks like in America, but here’s the catch: unless we understand the general demographic trends in homelessness, we cannot provide the most effective services to end their homelessness.
Read the entire article here:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, asks why we aren't more compassionate more of the time.

There is zero correlation between IQ and emotional empathy. … They’re controlled by different parts of the brain. - Daniel Goleman

Tennessee, Listen Up! Should Mentally Ill People Be Forced Into Treatment?

This study shows why Tennessee should be the 46th state in our nation to enact AOT laws.

New Study: Assisted Outpatient Treatment Saves More Taxpayer Money Than It Costs

A new study finds that involuntary psychiatric treatment programs can keep people from cycling through ERs, jails, prisons, and homeless shelters—and therefore save taxpayers gobs of money. Is it worth it?

Read the TIME article here:

In every case program costs were “more than offset” by reducing public spending in other areas, resulting in a net cost reduction to the public, the study conducted by Health Management Associates found.

Read about the study, commissioned by the Treatment Advocacy Center here:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Help Knoxville's Homeless Mentally Ill Survive on the Streets Today

Around noon today, I have some Knoxlife friends who are taking blankets and provisions to the folks who are surviving on the streets and refuse to take shelter. 

"Why in the world don't they just go inside the missions when the temps are this dangerous", you ask? Many have untreated mental illness and are highly symptomatic with paranoid thoughts and delusions. They self medicate with drugs and alcohol because they aren't treated with the appropriate medications required to treat their illness. This may numb the pain but it also worsens their symptoms. And they are seriously ill, not stubborn. I know of at least one man who has died from exposure to the freezing temps recently. 

They need our compassion to get through this cold snap ... but what they REALLY need is timely effective treatment for their untreated mental illness (more on that later). I'm contacting these friends to see if they can swing by my workplace as they head out to buy basic needs for the ones living outside in this 3 degree weather. They especially need blankets and since I don't have any on hand, I'm giving them a cash donation to purchase provisions. If you want to help, please let me know via email at   Blankets, hot hands, gloves, socks, candles, any sort of winter outer wear is needed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On closing Lakeshore: Results living under Knoxville I40 bridge

Last night under the bridge, I witnessed human despair firsthand, a direct result of the decision made two years ago to close our region's only state psychiatric hospital. His name was Charles.
I'd offered to help him complete his form to enter Lost Sheep's rehab program for his alcohol addiction. It was a fairly easy task at first. He had no address, no job, no income, no relatives as both parents had passed away. But then we got to the medical history page. It filled up completely. Bipolar. Six different medications - he could name them all - including antipsychotics. Self medication of choice: alcohol. Just discharged from Peninsula psychiatric hospital 6 days ago. I asked, "dear Charles, what are you doing living under the bridge if you just got discharged from the hospital?"
He said, "this is where they brought me".
So I ask ... is it okay with you when our society throws people away?
It's not okay with me.
If we advocate for anything, we should be advocating for mandatory assisted outpatient treatment for these folks with serious brain illnesses as they are discharged from hospitals, especially when they have no other support.
AOT would provide the needed services and oversight to keep people OFF the streets, not put them ON the streets. But sadly - after 8 years of advocating - Tennessee still remains as one of only 5 states in our nation without AOT laws on its books. Soon we will be one of only 3, as New Mexico and Maryland are close to passing AOT laws.
This post is for you, Charles. I admire you for reaching out, as impaired as you were, and I sincerely hope you get the help you need.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kennedy in Q-C: Treat brain, physical illnesses the same

020815-kennedy1Mental illness should be treated like any other ailment, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, 47, said during a presentation Sunday night in Davenport.
The former Rhode Island congressman talked and answered questions at the Adler Theatre about the stigma and treatment of mental illness in the United States and his personal struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder. About 100 people attended.

Read the entire story here:  Kennedy in Q-C: Treat brain, physical illnesses the same