My Facebook feed often has different videos in it, and this was one that I felt compelled to share. It’s about a doctor that treats homeless people, not in a shelter, but out on the streets. For the last 22 years he has been going out 5 nights a week and offering health care to homeless individuals including providing antibiotics, inhalers, cold medicine, splints, bandages and more should he feel the patient needs them.
At one point in the video he says that he can see himself in them, that they are just people and that he too could have been homeless if for different circumstances. He then says at the end “Everybody matters, we need to look out for the people that are the most ostracized” Here’s the thing, according to Canadian Alliance on Mental Health and Mental Illness 66% of homeless persons in Toronto, Ontario have a diagnosis of a mental illness. Furthermore, according to them 1/3 of homeless persons are without a home directly due to their mental or physical illness preventing them from obtaining and or keeping housing for themselves. This makes me angry, why because he’s right, and most of society isn’t paying enough attention to the simple fact that we as a society should be helping one another in constructive ways. It also points to me at least to the disparities in what is needed for those with various mental illness diagnosis’s to thrive compared to what resources are actually readily available and easily accessible. It points to me to at least to the fact that mental illnesses or disorders or whatever word you want to use are still stigmatized and this makes me want to talk more about things like Autism, it makes me want to be louder about my real life with my kids, to be so loud for as long as it takes to stop the stigma, to push for better services (not just for Autism, but all persons not classified as “neuro-typical”)
Be loud with me, and together we can change the stigmas attached to not being neuro-typical, we can change our society one step at a time, because we ARE our society. Just as Dr. Withers has been changing it with his nightly walks.
Dr. Wither’s video can be found here: http://www.nationswell.com/making-house-calls-people-without-homes/
The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health page that I mentioned can be found here: http://camimh.ca/mental-illness-awareness-week-english/about-mental-illness/what-is-mental-illness/homelessness-and-mental-illness/