Carl Thompson’s eight years in the Army were the best days of his life.
He had structure. Purpose. An important job. A steady paycheck. People depended on him.
After getting out, he was adrift. And over the years he’s suffered many losses: His son, murdered at 17. His family. His freedom, after running afoul of the law. His job. And finally his health.
Two years ago he became homeless, sleeping under bridges, in bushes off the side of the road.
Carl Finds A Home
When he showed up on our doorstep he was on his last legs. Suffering from depression and schizophrenia, with nowhere to go and no family to help him.
He’d come in every morning and get his coffee and sit in the background watching the classes being taught or the food being prepared. Every once in a while he would mumble something to himself or break out in loud laughter.
Though difficult at times, we learned a little more about Carl and his life. We weren’t able to help him very much, but we were able to provide showers and laundry and a place to come in and get off of the streets for a time.
Carl was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant in another State this Spring. We hope that while in custody he can receive some court-mandated care and we wish him well.
Ever since we have had de-institutionalization, sadly some of the people who were formerly institutionalized have fallen through the cracks of the system.
Legal protections make it difficult to force treatments on those unwilling to receive it. Law enforcement cannot get involved unless a crime has been committed. Protective services can only be summoned when there is a danger to themselves or others.
Whose responsibility is it?
Here are a few more articles about mental illness and how we can try and help
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