Homelessness Epidemic In America

Homeless man in subway station holding card with seeking human kindness text

How To Solve Homelessness

There is no doubt that America has a homelessness problem, especially on the west coast. There are many reports of homeless people attacking innocent pedestrians, breaking and entering, contaminating streets with human feces and spreading disease. But what is causing all of this and can it be controlled and prevented?

Chronic substance abuse is spreading like a wildfire. We have an opioid and methamphetamine epidemic plaguing our country, K2 polluting the minds of our youth and poor and e-cigarettes ruining our respiratory health. Add to these problems the ongoing rise in alcohol consumption, the legalization of marijuana and the continued prevalence of cigarette smoking and you have yourself a nicely painted picture of why homelessness is flooding our streets.

Secondly, there is ongoing financial instability caused by unemployment or underemployment. This factor is definitely influenced by others because if someone is struggling to maintain a job, they can always find some other type of work to support themselves. But some regions of the United States are still struggling with unemployment; on top of that, add substance abuse and mental illness and you have yourself another reason for the rise in homelessness.

Mental illness is another contributing factor. Many people remain under-treated or not treated at all. They either have no access to mental health resources, their families do not believe in mental illness or they remain noncompliant with medications because of stigma. With mental illness affecting judgment and decision-making, it is no wonder why people become homeless.

Do not rule out domestic abuse! Most of the time, it is due to men physically or psychologically abusing their spouses. In these cases, women become conditioned to remain in their relationships out of fear of upsetting their man. They also have a fear of leaving, losing their relationships and starting all over; they become dependent. But in some situations, when they do leave and have no family or social support, their newfound home becomes the streets.

So what is the solution? First of all, we need to address substance abuse and mental illness at a more aggressive rate. We need more governmental support and action. Rather than wasting time and energy fighting wars overseas or improving military technology, let’s use those resources to advance psychiatric research, improve rehabs and treatment centers, offer more social support, come up with advancements in medications and end mental health stigma.

Let us shed more light on the importance of helping each other mentally, physically and even spiritually. We remain a divided society because we are divided within ourselves. We are engulfed in technology, social media and work; we are becoming robotic, isolated and less relatable. We need to connect with each other, provide empathy and support for one another and come together in times of need; not just when there is a mass shooting or natural disaster.

The DSM Ready Movement is providing the foundation. Are you willing to build upon it and spread this opportunity to the rest of humanity?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Importance Of Educating

Person holding a piece of paper with "phone a friend" written on it

Educating Others On Mental Illness

The mind controls everything: our reactions, movements, choices, beliefs, respiration, sexual drive, creativity, motivation, work ethic and the list goes on. The importance of educating each other on mental illness is immense; one person’s experience can help prevent another person’s demise.

Many people can participate in educating others about mental illness. The more honesty that is delivered, the more stories that can be interrelated! The more open that we are with each other, the greater the effect becomes on shaping society to develop a stronger understanding of how mental health impacts our lives in many different ways.

If we do not come together and form a web of sticky education, humanity will continue to remain divided on the experience of mental health. Cohesion must form to help spread the understanding of mental illness! Education is one form of ending stigma; people are attracted to knowledge and personal experience.

If you have suffered or are suffering from a mental illness, share the experience with someone you know who may be suffering as well; strength in numbers is the expectation. Utilize the power of knowledge and past experience to help someone in need!

The problem does not lie with the medical field in terms of education. But as professionals, our reach can only extend so far. We need the help of humanity to contribute by promoting the end of mental health stigma and the sharing of personal and honest experiences, while being nonjudgmental.

Science can only take us so far. But love and care are limitless.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

El Paso Shooting

Mentally ill person wearing armor suit and carrying shotgun

Turning A Blind Eye To Mental Illness

A manifesto. Accumulation of hate. Thoughts of killing. Destruction. Elimination. All fueled by deep hatred stemming from malfunctioning brain circuits; neurons releasing too little or too much neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain. Meanwhile, the clues pile up on social media and nobody does anything about it.

This is the problem with gun violence in the United States: mental illness is still not receiving the full attention and focus that it needs to prevent such catastrophes from taking place. People witness disturbing social media posts or odd behavior by a certain individual and do nothing about it.

Whenever you see something, say something! Mental illness can no longer be ignored. For how much longer will America turn a blind eye to mental health? Guns do not kill people; people kill people! A deep hatred towards another race, gender, ethnicity or creed stems from mental illness. All emotions originate from the brain.

Anger, jealously, hatred or fear; they all originate from the brain. There is no hatred without something malfunctioning in the human mind. When you have a person take twenty innocent lives and injury twenty-six people in a shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon, you know that mental illness played a role. You would have to be naive and ignorant to believe otherwise.

Some would argue that America is overmedicated and that we need to rely less on prescription drugs. How can this argument stand when every other month there is a shooting spree in a different state? We can ban all the guns in the world but people with mental illness would still obtain them very easily via the black market.

Banning guns is like starting a modern day “war on drugs” by attempting to make everything illegal. We are finally admitting that the “war on drugs” has failure, as evidenced by the modern opioid and methamphetamine epidemics, soon to be followed by a stimulant epidemic.

Banning guns is not the solution; it never will be. The solution is ending the mental health stigma and coming forward to share our problems rather than spraying them on innocent lives. We need to be honest with ourselves and step out of the darkness where mental illness sometimes takes us.

It is time for America to come out of the closet regarding our mental health crisis. We can no longer treat this subject lightly or else innocent lives will continue to be robbed. Violence, murders, suicides and drug abuse all stem from an under-treated society. We are being prescribed medications but we are not fully forthcoming with all of our problems.

The psychiatric medications are acting as temporary bandages rather than long-term solutions. Some people do not even know the significance of the medication which they are taking. This is because we are superficially addressing the mental health crisis. We can no longer be ashamed of sharing our problems with each other.

And this applies to the rest of the world as well. By coming together and sharing our mental health concerns, we will make this world a better place and decrease violence and hatred exponentially!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Spurts of Hope

Woman hoping and praying beside tree

My Living Hope

There are days when everything seems gloomy and all hope is lost; we can all relate. You lose interest in all of your activities and become bombarded with a deep feeling of sadness as if an elephant were sitting on your chest. The last thing you want to do is smile and be optimistic.

You wonder if life is even worth living anymore. You search for cracks of happiness only to return back to square one: sadness. You somehow find the strength to engage in some of your usual activities but with much less passion and enjoyment. You wonder if there is a magic pill that can take away the gloominess; there never was and never will be one.

As the day passes, you appreciate the short spurts of hope that creep into your consciousness; they somehow alleviate the pain, at least momentarily. But the key is to build off these spurts of hope and dig yourself out of the blackhole. These spurts of hope are the antidote to the start of depression; use them to avoid the development of a serious mental illness.

Feeling sad is part of life; there is no way to avoid it. The important thing is how you handle the sadness; some get over it and move on while others spiral down into major depressive disorder. Sadness is the yang and happiness is the yin; complementary forces in which the whole is greater than the individual emotions.

To appreciate happiness is to experience sadness; without the negative emotion, we would not know what happiness would feel like. But when there is way too much yin or yang, there is concern for mania or depression. Therefore, a healthy balance is always key to enjoying life.

Find your living hope and allow it to help you today!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Delusional Thoughts

Blonde woman wearing green top suffering from delusional disorder

Delusional Disorder Symptoms

Imagine being lost in the depths of an idea that you believe to be true, contrary to any evidence provided to you. No matter how many people tell you the opposite, you are not shaken; your belief persists. This is a delusion.

There are many types of delusions that people experience. It is not known what causes delusions, but they are often very difficult to break, like a glitch in a computer operating system. However, people with delusions often remain functional: they continue working, maintaining relationships and taking care of themselves.

Relationships can become affected when a delusion centers around a specific person. For instance, in erotomania, the delusional person believes that another individual (i.e., often of higher status, like a celebrity) is in love with them, despite having never met that higher status person. In the jealousy type of delusional disorder, a man or woman wholeheartedly believes that his or her spouse is sleeping with someone else, despite no evidence.

A person with a persecutory delusion may believe that someone is out to cause them harm. Paranoia does not always have to be present; the person may be functional and continue working without being delusional at work. But when he or she arrives home, they may start ruminating on their delusion. Persecutory delusions are the most common type experienced.

The difference between delusional disorder and other psychotic disorders is that the former does not greatly impact the person’s life; they often remain productive. On the other hand, schizophrenics have a higher likelihood of becoming nonfunctional due to the nature of their illness: auditory hallucinations, delusions and disorganized speech and behavior.

Delusions are the most difficult symptoms to treat in psychotic patients; auditory hallucinations can easily go away with antipsychotic medications, but delusions make up the structure of a patient’s reality. If the structure collapses, two possible scenarios emerge: the patient obtains a positive realization or becomes depressed when confronted with reality.

Always be careful when confronting someone’s delusion; violence is not uncommon when a delusional person feels threatened or offended. Always use your heart and be empathetic to anyone you talk to, delusional or not!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Is Pedophilia A Mental Illness?

Young girl scared of a pedophile and covering her face with both hands

Pedophilic Disorder

Pedophilia is the attraction and sexual feelings directed towards children. The DSM-V classifies pedophilia as a mental disorder accompanied by intense and recurrent sexual urges and fantasies about children, that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.

Pedophilia is considered child sexual abuse. It is mostly documented in men but women also exhibit the disorder. It emerges during puberty and remains stable over time. Pedophiles do not choose to be attracted to children; it is self-discovered. Therapies exist but no cure has been identified.

The difference between pedophilia and heterosexuals and homosexuals is that the former causes harm to others, while partaking in heterosexual or homosexual acts is understood to be mutual between two consenting adults or two consenting adolescents. A child cannot consent to sexual acts with an adult without the child being psychologically manipulated.

Pedophiles often develop a relationship with a child and prey upon their feelings and emotions, slowly making their advance at vulnerable times. Some children learn to accept the sexual advances because they wrongly interpret them as opportunities for affection and attention; their manipulated mind works in favor of the pedophile who is clearly taking advantage.

Even though pedophilia is considered a mental illness, criminal prosecutions continue to persist due to the nature of the illness; no child or adolescent deserves being manipulated mentally, emotionally and physically. On the other hand, efforts continue for developing treatments with the goal of preventing future acts of abuse.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

How To Help Someone With Mental Illness

Grayscale photo of a woman crying and suffering from a mental illness

Mental Health Teamwork

The first step is to help yourself by becoming open to the fact that mental illness is not some crazy psychological “in your head thing” caused by demonic possession or weakness; let us end the stigma that keeps many people from coming out and seeking the treatment they deserve and need. Just as how physical disorders harm the body, the same concept applies with mental illness: the mind is being rocked out of its place.

By accepting that mental illness is real and not a “weakness”, you are now ready to share your heart and mind with someone with a mental illness. Listen to them! Sometimes just listening is half the battle of helping someone defeat a mental illness. There is something magical and therapeutic by listening to someone share their symptoms: it helps them feel understood and appreciated.

Show them empathy and concern; show them that you truly care! Patients suffering from mental illness can tell when a psychiatrist is truly caring for them; it radiates like the sunshine on a warm summer day. To show empathy is to attempt to understand the emotions and suffering that someone with a mental illness is experiencing; it is stepping into their life and sharing their pain, even if it’s for a moment!

Be there for them! If it is someone close to you like a family member or a close friend, keep in contact as much as possible. When you allow someone with a mental illness to become isolated, their chances of committing suicide dramatically increases; isolation is a campground for negative and harmful thoughts. Maintaining a strong and close connection with someone suffering from a mental illness often helps them cope more efficiently and get through their illness; your presence makes a difference.

Treat others as you would like to be treated!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)