Thursday 2014-07-03. Jimmy came up to me at McDonald’s yesterday and sat down and talked about the incident. He doesn’t say he’d been drinking. He says people thought he’d been drinking.
Recall his psychiatric diagnoses.
Pastor sent me this clipping about the homeless squatters’ camp underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, which the City was about to raze — again. He thought the housing vouchers it mentions might be available to me. They’re not. A different detail caught my eye: the remark that many people in the camp “struggle with mental illness and addiction.” Note the “and.”
The combination of mental illness and drug abuse comes up again in this article about children who are at risk for neglect and abuse.
Bobby started attending church a few weeks ago. He lives nearby and is in a very unstable housing situation. He is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, and is an alcoholic. He applied for the drug-and-alcohol treatment program at the mission where I stay, and was turned away because of his psychiatric diagnoses.
I don’t like Josh. He’s in his 20’s, talkative, and placid — too placid, IMO, about his life as a pill popper. His family gives him lots of money. One day, he opened up to me about his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He says he prefers to stay compliant with his meds, as he’d rather be “docile” than deal with the drama that comes with non-compliance. He said the normal dose of Seroquel is 50 mg/day; his prescription is eight times that.
The next day, I found out he’s also on methadone.
“Dual diagnosis” is the term applied to patients who have both addiction and mental illness. I may need to reconsider how this combination affects one’s ability to not get barred from any program or shelter.
Related: Who are the homeless?
The population is large, the need severe, and at this writing I know of no residential treatment program specifically geared to these people’s needs. Re-institutionalization may be in order, but those who can work ought not merely be warehoused. Job opportunities need to be fitted to them, understanding that most of these people will never be accepted in the normal workplace.
Related: Scary people downtown
(Originally posted 2014-09-06.)