Mental illness: The
How unseen barriers and inaccessible assistance perpetuate the constant cycle of endless struggling.
by Bethany McDonald, Executive Director of HUGCLT
Everything about this picture breaks my heart and literally hurts my soul.
I drove the HUG van around South End on Sunday trying to locate a homeless woman who had been kicked out of her hotel and back onto the streets. I found her sitting behind a building, her things scattered around her, completely lost and dejected knowing she wouldn’t have a warm bed or shelter that night. She’s not only battling schizoaffective disorder and paranoia, but the stigma of judgement and the effects of the cold winter weather & utter solitude.
This is a picture of mental illness going untreated. It’s a picture of a human being - tears streaming down her face - with no access to treatment or assistance for something that rules her existence, drives her decisions, and forces her to wander through life just trying to make it from one day to the next.
Just because it can’t be seen with the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not a crippling disability. We could put her in a hundred rooms and it wouldn’t change her life; it wouldn’t keep her from being incapable of having the breakdowns and episodes that keep getting her evicted and turned away.
All I could do was show her empathy, stock her up with a ton of supplies to stay safe and warm, and let her know that she is loved beyond words - even when she feels lost in the worst of the darkness.
We have to start fixing the problems instead of just plugging the leaks.
We have to do better.