Sunday, April 19, 2009

Schizophrenia and "The Soloist"

The Soloist is the true story of Los Angeles journalist, Steve Lopez, who befriends a man named Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers happens to be a homeless Julliard trained musician who has Schizophrenia.  It is a most special story about loss, friendship, understanding and redemption.

Much stigma surrounds Schizophrenia despite research that shows it holds a neurobiological origin for the disorder.  Many still believe that those who have mental illness are unmotivated, lazy or are of weak character - and that their homelessness is by choice, not from circumstance.  

Take Part offers some suggestions should you encounter a person living on the streets: 

1.  Make eye contact. Smile.

2 . Consider giving supplies, like a small plastic bag of toiletries, snacks, food or grocery coupons. 

3. Donate  your gently worn clothes to a local homeless facility.

4.  Watch your words. Don’t call people who are homeless “bums,” “transients,” or even “the homeless.” They are still people first.

5.  If you want to do more, consider volunteering.


Big Brother said...

It all comes down to treating them like human beings. Let's face it in other circumstances, it could have been you. I remember when I volunteered in a soup kitchen, I talked with one of the people there about what had happened and I came to the realization that it could have happened to me just as easily. You only have to be self-employed with no insurance, an illness and you have lost everything.

Kahless said...

Do they sell the equivalent of "The Big Issue" publication in the US.

Just wondering.

Dr. Deb said...

Yes BB, it could happen to any of us.

Kahless, Th Big Issue is not here in the states. I wish it was.


Anonymous said...

The Seattle area has the newspaper "Real Change" written and distributed by the low-income and homeless.

There might be others around the country.

Angel Chasse said...

I am so glad you brought this up! I saw the story on 60 minutes and was very intrigued, they mentioned there that a movie was in the works! I hope that it is tastefully done, and can help people that do not struggle with mental illness understand a tiny bit better what others go through! Thanks again for the post!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I've been looking forward to this movie. A few years ago I read a book by two guys who chose to immerse themselves in the homeless community for 6 months. They lived in 6 major cities across the U.S. and shared their insights, including how they were treated by society. It was really interesting.

Not to sound insensitive, but terminology should we use when speaking of this segment of society?

Rose said...

I think Jamie will receive an Oscar nod for this one. Your recomendations are great!

phd in yogurtry said...

Excellent message of compassion.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I've been looking forward to this movie coming out.

We teach our son to have respect for others, whether they have a home or not. One of the best experiences for him was working a half-shift at a soup kitchen. He was a little scared at first, but then settled into the morning and really enjoyed it. I'd recommend it for parents looking for a good learning and giving experience for their kids (may need to be big enough and may need to ask for a half shift appropriate for the age of the child).

Anonymous said...

What great timing! At this very moment, I'm having an email conversation with a professor about the movie!

Here's a wonderful link to an interview with Jamie Foxx. It talks about how mental illness can definitely happen to anyone. Very interesting:,0,6569708.story


Ian Lidster said...

When we did our report on the homeless in our community last year the tally was that 80% were either suffering mental illness or dual-diagnosis mentall illness and addiction. A poignant and truthful posting, Deb. Thank you.

jumpinginpuddles said...

we saw this adevertised and thought it would be a really interesting movie

Ask the doctor said...

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Tracy said...

I really want to see this movie. Thank you for sharing the info. I am finally getting around to all my friends blogs. I have been on a new med, that would not allow me to sleep! Was feeling like i was living in fog land.

I hope you had a blessed Easter!

Health Psych said...

Thanks for sharing this movie. There but for the grace.....

Ask Aunt B said...

This is a wonderful reminder for those who just might not have compassion for those less fortunate.

I think that most people may look down their nose at the panhandlers, etc. You'll often hear remarks such as "Hey, get a job." The truth of the matter is that they may very well have been a functioning member of society but addiction and/or mental illness have taken over.

I do not believe that people choose to live this way, i.e. on the street. Often times, an alcoholic can not go to a shelter in the darkest/coldest of winter because he is under the influence, which against most shelter rules.

Although it is a choice as to how we play the cards we are dealt, some are often thrown into their own personal hell because of the addictions, mental illness and such.

It's been quite a while since I've visited you, Dr. Deb. Hope this finds you fairly well!

Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you would be willing to blogroll my site about my own therapy-related experiences . . . ?? (Thank you in advance!)

- Marie