Dealing with severe mental illness and homelessness is a complex issue that affects the person dealing with the illness, their families, the community, and the government. In the past, people with severe mental illness were treated in institutions but in the 1960’s policies were changed and treatment moved to the communities (Newman & Goldman, 2009). Since that time, issues have arisen with housing and supportive services with the severely mentally ill population. After reviewing the issues with the current programs and policies in my previous two papers, the following is my recommendation on how to improve on the issue.
Severe mental illness covers several specific diagnoses that have different needs for treatment. The “one size fits all” approach cannot handle all the needs of this group. Throughout the research, adequate housing was one of the most important concerns that needed to be met for people with severe mental illness to increase the stability of their disease. Securing housing for this population is difficult due to the symptoms of mental illness and issues arising when people relapse.
Using public and private services could help alleviate some of the issues seen in the programs and policies that are used today in dealing with severe mental illness. A more personal approach to this issue could tailor to the needs of the individual and better support them in the community in order to bring about the best possible outcome. The way a person with severe mental illness is housed and the environment of that housing play an important role in the health of that individual. By using both private and public services, like social workers, clinicians, support groups, and clergy, a plan can be made to best serve the person with severe mental illness. It could also help the mentally ill client (the severely mentally ill person) to have a voice in their care also. A case manager should be assigned to the individual to ensure that the client receives the appropriate services and to review the plan in case the client’s needs change. The appropriate type of case manager, public guardian or public administrator outlined in Teaster’s (2003) research should be used to best serve the client: “surrogate decision makers” (p. 399), which made “both financial and personal decisions for wards” (p. 399); “service monitors” (p. 400), who acted like a case manager for wards in institutions; “service brokers” (p. 400), who arranged financial and personal services for their wards; “client advocates” (p. 400), who “pay attention to wards’ needs” (p. 400) and find providers to take care of them; and “relationship architects” (p. 400), who take care of “legal, medical, social services” (p. 400) issues for their wards (Teaster, 2003).
Another issue that the severely mentally ill encounter is difficulty in obtaining services and housing. The bureaucracy with public housing makes it difficult with someone with severe mental illness to complete the process needed to...