Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives

Mental Illness


SPD Brilliantly Handles Mental Health Crisis Downtown

Downtown Insanity Late Tuesday morning, Seattle Police (@SeattlePD) officers swarmed the encampment at the corner of 3rd Ave and Cherry St, just a block away from City Hall. The officers conducted a master class on responding to this mental health crisis. Look at the patience and care shown to this women who was literally spitting in the face of these officers. Thankfully the incident ended peacefully. Now imagine an unarmed social worker going into this scene without police? Well, that could happen very soon in this city. As Katie Daviscourt (@KatieDaviscourt) first reported, Councilmember Lisa Herbold (@Lisa_Herbold) is leading the charge to hire six unarmed “crisis responders” instead of police officers for emergency calls through a new 911 Dual Dispatch/Alternate Read More ›

Old Mental Hospital Sign
Old Mental Hospital Sign

The Story of Mental Illness in One Graph

Discovery fellow Robert Marbut provides this telling graph on the correlation of falling support for psychiatric beds and the rise of the mentally ill population in prison. Deinstitutionalization since the ‘60’s went overboard and helped create the current crisis.  Read More ›
tiny homes collection
set of tiny wooden toy houses.
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Stephanie Creighton

“Tiny home” villages are going up around the United States. They’re touted as solutions for homeless men and women, but a Sept. 17 Los Angeles Times article had this headline about two California villages: “The report card is mixed.” Read More ›
Old Mental Hospital Sign
Old Mental Hospital Sign

Good Intentions, Horrible Results

Last week on Fix Homelessness and in my monthly OlaskyBooks newsletter, I gave highlights and lowlights from Andrew Scull’s Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Harvard University Press, 2022). He notes that many mentally ill people are now homeless and on the streets instead of in state-funded mental hospitals. (Those institutions, like Michigan’s Lapeer State Home and Training School, housed sufferers. Then the 1960s brought in new drugs and new Washington-paid health plans, Medicare and Medicaid.) I didn’t have room last week to dive into an important question: Which came first, medical panaceas (that turned out not to be so) or money incentives? Scull says money, in many instances: “In at least seventeen states, inpatient censuses had Read More ›

West Hollywood Homelessness Wild Tents Camp
West Hollywood Homelessness Wild Tents Camp

Mental Illness on the Streets

From 1978 to 1983 I worked at Du Pont, which had a famous slogan: “Better things for better living through chemistry.” Andrew Scull’s Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Harvard University Press, 2022), shows how those years were the culmination of a “better drugs for better living” approach to mental illness that led to closing asylums across the United States”—and left many of the sickest among us homeless. Read More ›
two people circling in old building
Two psycho friends going around chair supporting each other in mental house
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Homeless Encampments and Mental illness

Fifty-one years ago I bicycled from Boston to Oregon. I was a Marxist then and looking for evidence of the American empire falling apart, but during the whole ten weeks on the road I didn’t see the one tourist attraction that would have delighted my propagandistic self: homeless encampments. Now every city seems to have them. Read More ›
bald homeless man
Young poor skinny anorexic bald homeless man sitting on the urban street in the city or town near old wall trying to hide his face, homelessness social documentary concept
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Republicans Could Lead on Mental Health Treatment

Tucked away in the gun law President Biden just signed is a provision increasing funding for preventive outpatient treatment for mental illness. This is an important step toward solving America’s mental-health crisis but only part of what’s needed. Read More ›

Robert Marbut on America’s Homelessness Crisis, Strategies for Uplifting the Homeless, and Effective Government Policies

Homelessness has reached crisis proportions. Few issues of human dignity are as heart wrenching as the wretched scenes in our most prosperous cities—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle—where one can drive down main thoroughfares and be confronted with tent encampments lining streets that provide scant shelter for thousands of destitute people. Read More ›