Those Alone And Mentally Ill Need Help
Scan the scene up and down many a big city street and you’ll see evidence that those alone and mentally ill need help. It’s not always obvious, but people with mental illness make up a high number of the population. Roughly one in four adults in the US, for instance, have a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. That makes mental illness incredibly common.
Despite this, the stigma persists. Worse, since the 1980s governments have largely divested themselves from owning the day-to-day care of people who need it most. Taking advantage of the shift toward normalization and equal opportunity, government bean counters worked out that institutional care was way to expensive. So they nodded in agreement, rode the crest of the antidiscrimination wave, and began dismantling to capitalize on the huge cost savings. Since then, for people who could benefit from an enlightened form of organized support, it has been slim pickings. Those folk able to rely on their family for support have been fortunate. But for the rest, community based care in too many areas has been terrible.
Even now, years later, those folk who are alone and mentally ill need help at the most desperate level. You might be thinking, “Come on Feegs. I thought this was meant to be a blog about happiness. Why are you talking about mentally ill people feeling alone and needing help?” Well, I look at it this way. How can we be really happy while so many people in our own community are in such desperate straits?
Happiness gets better the more we share it. And the more we own the fact that those who are alone and mentally ill need help, the greater our community happiness gets.
Somebody wise said, “You can tell how civilized a society is by the way it treats its weakest and most vulnerable citizens.” So all of those people in the street looking forlorn and disheveled are, in a sense, actually part of us. Love and compassion don’t stop the moment we grab the door handle to go. Somewhere, not far from you and I, people alone and mentally ill need help to recover or simply live more effectively. Now, please understand, I’m not rattling a can or plugging a particular charity. It’s just that, our happiness should never be lacking a caring perspective. To paraphrase something someone important once said a long time ago, “I tell you, whatever you do to the least of these, you also do to Me.”
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