What do we do, as a society, with people with mental illnesses?

This is an honest question. I know what we actually do–a lot of them are homeless and we avert our eyes when walking through big cities between expensive stops while on vacation or hurry past after we leave work, trying to steal an extra few minutes by getting home earlier.

Or we blame them for major crimes or talk about they are lazy, self-pitying snowflakes.

So maybe that’s a poorly worded question.

woman standing near neon signage
Photo by Victor L. on Pexels.com

What should society do with people who have mental illnesses? More specifically, people who are so impaired by their mental illnesses that they struggle to function in the ways they need to survive?

Well they live within their means and families take care of them. But what if, as it is in many cases, their families either cannot or will not do so? Often, the trauma that occurs within families can be a catalyst for those who go on to develop disorders or other conditions and the problem isn’t likely to morph into the solution.

We give them medication and they have the same chance as everybody else. If they just live more disciplined lives, exercise, go to bed early, eat right, make healthy choices, they will feel better and will be able to support themselves. But what if they are so impaired they physically shut down and can’t do these things?

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