Los Angeles Homeless Man's Isolation Is Causing Mental Health Challenges



Prior to my own homelessness, I had a great job in the television industry making sure the world received programs like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy along with many other syndicated shows. Before that, I was a professional musician for 26 years making my living playing drums. When I was on the streets homeless and told this to people, do you think they believed me?

Benjamin is homeless on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. He shares a story that may be hard to believe but I believe him. It’s how he talks with confidence remembering circumstances and dates, and as I said, my own story is hard to believe. There is no reason to believe he is telling anything but the truth. Plus, from experience, more often than not people are telling the truth. Yes, the mind may waver on some details. That happens to all of us. Now add the stress of living on the streets homeless. The mind plays tricks on people experiencing homelessness.

But it’s not Benjamin’s past that you need to pay attention too. It’s what’s happening to him now in the present. Benjamin says that homelessness is starting to get to him. The isolation of being on the streets and not having tangible social interactions with other humans is causing him to have in his words “symptoms.” Benjamin says he does “crazy stuff” that makes people think he is on drugs when he is not.

Mental illness is a crisis in this country. If a person does not have mental health problems prior to homelessness, they will develop mental illness. The longer someone is on the streets, the worse their mental and emotional health becomes.

If you’re asking what does this have to do with you, as a taxpayer you pay huge money for each homeless person on the streets. You may not give to panhandlers but you are giving homeless people your money. On average, housing a homeless person saves $20,000 each homeless person each year. Multiply that by the number of homeless people and the yearly savings is in the billions of dollars. Savings of your tax dollars!

Please watch this short video on Housing First

Housing homeless people saves lives and saves money!

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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.

Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.

Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.

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