Apr 28, 2009

The answers

Okay, so I took my concerns to my supervisor and other teachers to get an idea of how things like this are handled, and basically what I got was "Do Nothing."

Most people who spend a lot of time sleeping on the street and in various states of undress are considered to be mentally ill. If their families cannot take care of them, there is nowhere for them to go until they become a hazard to themselves or others. Then they go to prison, where they either improve or die. Although Peru seems to have socialized medicine and is actually quite advanced in their medicine, there is no long-term care for anyone unless some money is provided. There is no state funding or social security of any kind (that I can find out about) for poor people with chronic mental illness. There isn't even a state mental institution. So the treatment for poor, mentally ill people in Lima is to turn them into the streets and ignore or avoid them until they die or commit a crime. Street vendors feed them when they can, and their diet consists of whatever the vendors can spare - soda, candy bars, and potato chips usually. I don't know where they go when it gets cold, but I imagine I'll find out one of these days.

These are not good answers for me, but I don't know what I can do to make things change. I hope someone will read this and tell me that I'm mistaken here. I hope they'll tell that there really is someplace that people can get treatment when they are at their worst and have hit rock bottom.

6 comments:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I wondered if that might be the situation. Unfortunately, it happens here, too. Maybe not that state of undress, but certainly people that need care and supervision who no longer get it now that state hospitals have fallen out of favor. Not that being "locked up" because you're "crazy" is a great thing, but neither is this wandering around to fend for yourself....

Pondside said...

As awful as it sounds it is just the next step, after governments get out of the business of providing care to the mentally ill. First they close the large psychiatric facilities, then they make it difficult to have anyone committed for their own safety. In many places in North America the next step is to call them 'homeless' and then wait for them to commit a crime so that they can be put in jail. And that's the happy ending. It's awful however you look at it.

Harpa J said...

That is so sad. What about religious organisations or such charities? Are there no shelters of that kind?

Margaret Cloud said...

It is too bad someone does not start a home for these people. I can't imagine being mentally ill and sleeping naked on the street.Kathleen are you still coming back to the states? I hope so for your piece of mind.

Kathleen said...

Unfortunately there are no homeless shelters or soup kitchens or crisis centers to help with these kinds of problems. The church and the community and The United Way all contribute to things like this in Cheyenne. There are places like Needs, Inc. to provide clothing for people who have no income, a shelter for homeless people, and a soup kitchen for meals for people who have nothing.

I used to hear on the radio, a Denver station, when someone was in a bad way, a DJ would put out the word that money, food, clothing, etc was needed. People in Denver would come through like gangbusters. They donated enough to pay bills, mortgage payments for a couple of months, a place to build a Habitat for Humanity home, food, furniture...all kinds of things for people in need, and not just once in a while. Here, if you have no money, you have no chance to raise yourself out of your current situation.

Here there is no charity organization to help those in the worst need. There is nothing from the local churches, either which blows me away. They tried an animal shelter, but even that failed, due to lack of community interest and support.

knittingdragonflies said...

Wow, I can't believe it. It is terrible all of those people slipping by, exsisting in a 'no mans land'
Vicki