New York City mayor, Eric Adams, announced a new measure to try to solve the situation of unhoused people with mental illnesses. A measure related to the increase of people living in the subway and on the city streets and with the increase of violent episodes involving people in need of psychiatric help they are not getting. And a measure that would suppose, according to The New York Times, taking from the streets and «involuntarily hospitalize people who represent a danger to themselves though they may not represent a risk to others.» In addition, in contrast with what was being done, these people would remain in the hospitals «until there exists a viable plan for their situation.»
I am not quite sure what this measure will mean, but the truth is that over this last year I felt the impotence of not knowing how to help or of facing the reality of the growing number of the unhoused with untreated mental illnesses that live around me, on both sides of the Atlantic. The Federation of Associated Relatives and People with Mental Illness of Galicia, or FEAFES, works to improve the quality of life of people with mental health issues and also has a social inclusion program to «accompany users of FEAFES Galicia who find themselves in an unhoused situation on their journey to their labor integration.»
Perhaps we don’t always know what to do to help a person in our neighborhood that we feels needs help, but perhaps we could begin to get to know the work of those associations that have spent years fighting for the rights of people with mental illnesses so that, at least, learn to see what is our responsibility as a society.