Recent circumstances pertaining to a family member of mine forces me to speak out and advocate for the mentally ill individual. Our family member has paranoid schizophrenia. He lived with his parents all his life . Six years ago, his comfortable and somewhat stable life was turned upside down when his mother passed away and he found himself alone for the first time.
We tried our best to find suitable living arrangements for him. Unfortunately, he needs personal living care where he could receive structure, guidance and help with daily living. The dilemma is, there is few available facilities for him to go. They either have long waiting lists or the quality of care they offer is not suitable.
So, what do you do for this 51 year old man who has been taken care of by his parents all his life? He doesn’t have the skills to live alone. He was living in his family house in a big city after both his parents died with no supervision. We had no choice but to find the most suitable arrangements for him to try and give him the security he needed.
He is now living north of the city, away from familiar surroundings, in a boarding home located in a small township. Unfortunately, he has the freedom to walk the streets when he wants. He doesn’t have the daily structure he desperately needs.
In the past year he was fined for buying cigarettes for minors and recently has been fined on three different occasions for pan handling. He could be described as socially immature. He doesn’t realize he is wrong due to the strong urges manifested by his paranoia.
He receives three meals a day and his Medicare disability just covers his room and board, leaving him with just enough money for personal needs. His personal needs consist of cigarettes, coffee, soda and fast food. He spends his entire allowance in one day causing him to look elsewhere to fund his needs, which is buying his cigarettes, soda, coffee and fast food. This is the manifestations of his disease, he must have money for his needs.
This is the life he is forced to live. He will do almost anything to feed his paranoia, including panhandling.
He lives in a small town with a small police force and after a few confrontations, they most likely know him and is aware he is mentally ill. However, this didn’t stop them from giving him citations over $100.00 each. He doesn’t have the money, the appropriate living structure and even knows or cares he is disturbing people by pan handling because he is mentally ill and unable to control his paranoid tendencies.
He is not getting the support he needs because our politicians are taking away funds he so desperately needs to properly secure him in a personal care facility where he would get better care, daily structure and daily living help.
Many years ago our state closed an inpatient care facility in our city without providing for alternative care for the men and women who lived there all their lives. These people are living in the streets now. My family member would not hurt a fly but what about the severe mentally ill individuals who are purchasing guns and using them to create mass murder. This is what happens when the mentally ill are pushed under the rug because our government refuses to correct the issue of properly caring for the mentally ill.