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Showing posts from May, 2012

Homeless, Mentally Ill and Marginalized

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I've been writing, thinking and praying about mental illness in the homeless community.

It saddens me to know that people struggling with mental illness are marginalized.
It also saddens me to know that people struggling with homelessness are marginalized.
So when a person struggles with both mental illness and homelessness, the marginalization runs very deep, and also saddens me.
Recently, I've written about 5 different issues I believe cause and result in this crippling marginalization in our modern world.

We have to remember that these men, women and children live real lives; they live each day with real names, real faces and were born from real mothers, yet they are so often cast aside, neglected and victims of hate crimes. I believe these men, women and children are who Jesus would call the "least of these" in our modern society. He would be with them, and is with them, in their midst!

These men, women and children don&#…

Locking Up the Mentally Ill?

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Honestly, I thought my lil' African buddy had been tazed.
Kwame was on the ground convulsing, drooling, with his eyes rolling to the back of his head. Two big police officers were standing over him, armed to the tilt, making sure he wouldn't escape. They would not allow any of the watching public or his friends to come close and comfort him. The truth is, there was no way he could even stand up, let alone escape! His breathing was getting shallower and shallower. The police didn't know what to do as he lay on the cold street, next to the squad SUV, shaking uncontrollably. Alone! Many of us who surrounded him, silently prayed for our harmless little buddy as the ambulance finally came. The medics gave him breathing treatments and rushed him to the nearest hospital.
Well, the truth is, Kwame hadn't been tazed! Some of the people further down the block assumed he had been, but the group right next to him observed the whole ordeal. They explained to me that K…

The Self-Proclaimed "Craziest Man in Uptown": a look into mental illness and homelessness

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My eventual plan is to elaborate in far greater detail on my friend's story, because Shane is a person who has been ostracized, isolated, criminalized and "kicked to the curb", simply due to him struggling with a very flamboyant and debilitating mental illness. But that will be another post....

My main purpose in this post is due to the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I want to bring a little awareness to some of the various issues persons with chronic mental illnesses go through, especially when they are homeless....

Before I concentrate on Shane's sad reality and the unusual hope he possesses, I want to draw attention to three other posts I recently finished, each focusing on different aspects of mental illness in the homeless community. Another important fact I want to quickly mention is; not all homeless people are mentally ill and substance abusers, a huge percentage are not! BUT, these 4 posts focus on people who have arrived in their homeless …

Money Crazy: Crazy for Money

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This was written as a continuation of "Stinky Shorts In Frigid Temperatures"; this is another case study or look at debilitating mental illnesses in the homeless community. This is a call to love and "be there" for the "least of these"; men, women and children scattered throughout our communities (whether homeless or not).....
I pull up in the car, and immediately he's there, pounding on my window. I open it to the words; "hey dad, (that's what he calls me) you gotta help me get my money, take me the Currency Exchange. Can you take me? Can you take me dad?"  
He'd been waiting for quite a while. Everyone knew it and had warned me. In fact it was the second time I'd pulled up and both times he'd come with exaggerated urgency and great expectations. This time I had to get out of the car, and as soon I opened the door, he approached with his arms by his side, head tilted slightly forward and his Newport cigarette …