Mental Illness in L.A. – Part 1

Mental Illness in L.A. – Part 1


When we think of Los Angeles we think of beaches,
celebrities and fun times but Curtis Palmer takes a look at the dark side of the city. There’s so much pressure to make it in LA,
to be somebody but what happens to those who don’t make it, the ones that find the pressure
just too much and crash and burn. Many of them become homeless and start living
in skid row – yes it is a location in LA. 155 mental patients had been dropped off in
these mean streets in 22 months. You will notice people still sleep here. I feel I was tossed to the side. We’re full, we’re overflowing because
we’ve had to break the rules a bit because we really have no where to send anybody. Wow we’re about to get on to the freeway. LA, the city of angels, palm trees, sun and
beautiful people but there’s another side to this city. There are places that tourists
should never go, places even locals try to avoid – this is skid row, a place referred
to as America’s only third world city. It’s home to hundreds of homeless people many of
whom are mentally ill or impaired. We’d been warned but nothing prepared us for what
we saw as we cruised the streets leading to the heart of skid row. We’ve filmed in plenty
of places but we were surprised how bleak and frightening this place is. Film crews
aren’t welcome here and none of us wanted to get out of the van. Our first destination
was the Union Rescue Mission, the largest and oldest organization in the USA working
to support homeless people. It was started by the founder of Union Oil, Lyman Stewart
118 years ago. Skid row in LA which is really like one of
the worst human disasters in the US and it’s really been caused by corralling and containment
of people who are struggling with homelessness. 30% of homeless people in the US have some
form of mental illness. If you’re poor and mentally ill you have few options before you
hit the streets or jail. And you never know which came first, sometimes
the mental illness comes first and leads to homelessness but certainly prolonged homelessness
and suffering devastation on the streets and being robbed and beaten and mugged and if
you’re a woman much worse certainly leads to depression and other issues of mental health
so we’ve got to make sure that we don’t leave one precious human being on the street,
that’s really the bottom line. Andy takes us to what feels like a disaster
zone. He makes regular trips here handing out water. He’s insisted on bringing eight
minders along to make sure our cameras don’t upset people but I wasn’t prepared for the
barrage of people coming up to us. I was in the marine core, my name is Lunatic. According to the 2007 statistics up to 142,000
men women and children become homeless over the course of any year. Up to 74,000 people
are homeless each night in Los Angeles County, half the homeless are single men, 25% are
single women and the rest are entire families. We are the capital of homelessness, we have
more people on the streets in LA than any other city, double of what New York and Chicago
have combined, every suburb, every region, every city has kind of dropped off their folks
who are struggling at this spot in LA and forgot about them. We’re not living up to
being the city of Angels and we’ve got to work towards the day we don’t have one precious
human being on the streets and that’s going to take a lot of work but mostly it’s going
to take a heart change. What sort of feeling does this give you Andy? Oh just encouraging to give folks a cold drink
of water and a little bit of encouragement and some hope. Because to get through the day for you you
must see a lot of sadness, does this get you through doing stuff like this? Yeah it helps but what really helps is when
somebody gets a bottle of water and they decide later on because they know where the water
came from and they ask for real help. Andy once spent a night out on the street
just to see what it was like. I slept like 30 minutes because a guy said
to watch my back so I took a little nap but that’s all I got. A friend of mine who spent
20 years said “Andy after six or seven days that fear would have been replaced by anger
and you would have adapted because humans adapt to anything”. We realize they’re
precious people, they are somebody’s Aunt, they are somebody’s uncle, someone’s precious
baby that they held in their arms and we need to quit referring to people as “the homeless”
or “the drug addicted”. It’s hot, a dry searing kind of heat. We’ve only come about fifty metres and we’ve
handed out over 200 bottles of water – it’s gone. We experienced a tsunami of families in this
latest economic downturn and about 53% of families who came our way were experiencing
homelessness for the first time in their life, they lost their home, they lost their job,
they lost their apartment, they ran out of funds, they ended up in a hotel until their
savings is gone then they move to their car and then the last stop is a place like Union
Rescue Mission and we’ve relodged probably about 45 families including I think three
are getting relodged this week because we didn’t leave them in homelessness long enough
to suffer the devastation of homelessness. You would not have wanted to visit here before
the Safer Cities initiative, I couldn’t walk down the street without having to break
up a serious pipe fight or knife fight, it was described as Mardi Gras on crack and it
was very dangerous and now you can see we can walk down the street pretty safely and
without the police we couldn’t do that. This is our day room for our male folks who
come in and are staying with us and they can come in and just have some quiet time just
to get off the mean streets down here on skid row. People can sign up for beds, enjoy three meals
a day and take what might be their first shower in weeks. Good morning sweetie how are you? Hair cuts are provided along with clothes
and medical care. Therapists are on hand to assess the mental state of those who turn
up here and work out an action plan. The Union Rescue Mission provides a real opportunity
to get off the street and start a new life. This wall is the wall where when folks come
in and they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and being on the street and they
want some help they sit in these seats for about 14 days, that let’s us know that they
are really serious about getting some help.

Comments

(15 Comments)

  • fritz2525

    I live in LA and skid row is realy like this. Its sad that such an amazing city has such poverty

  • MozePrayIII

    thanks for this

  • Shannonbarnesdr1

    maybe tourists SHOULD because ths is a population that needs to be visible it needs help, n yes alot made the choice to start drugs and what not, but many are folks who lost job to downsize, or got ill cant afford medical, some folks are disabled, mental ill or both.. and elderly… they need awareness they need communities to step up and give them a hand UP, not a hand out

  • ryan cliff

    americans who try to help other people appear very patronising

  • Paulie Walnuts

    this makes me really sad watching this, it is true alot of people have forgotten about people in skidrow, they are humans just like us too except alot of people just see a homeless person which is messed up, these people have a heart and soul and shouldnt make them any less of a person just cause they dont have much things ne more.

  • ccdays26

    This is a damn shame…With all the hollywood wealth and LA has the highest population of homeless.. They should all organize and rob the wealthy in LA,until large contributions are made to solve that cities homeless rate..Maybe officials will pay attention then..

  • Dean Flaco

    LA wake up business men make up 100% the money any of those teasers make whinning in those suburbs so fuck it.

  • James Begley

    thanks for sharing this video it lets people know that mental illness is every where so thank you. I wanted to let you know we shared our story on you tube as well if you go to you tube James Begley Bursting Bubbles please watch it and let me know what you think

  • leslie rose

    how can this be happening in America

  • AngleOfLight

    movie stars live a few miles away with solid gold faucets and poop in toilets made of silver with platinum fixtures. this video makes me realize how corrupt the hollywood film directors, producers and stars are and what hypocrits they all are. totally disgraceful

  • M Silva

    Sad how 4 legged homeless dogs get better treatment than Gods lost and abandoned human beings 😣

  • Onboarddatracks

    She said they sit in those seats for 14 days….damn

  • Brittany Lopez

    So sad. I know what it's like being homeless…

  • Deborah Godwin

    The people on Skid Row are the mentally ill and drug addicted ( who become mentally ill) A normal turn of life events does not put a person in this hellish place. It is a shame that the mentally ill have been abandoned like this. Not everyone has the cognition to make it in this life without help. That is what mental illness is. They are in need of long term help. Free housing not affordable but free. And also they have to get out of LA. It is simply impossible to live there without a sizable income.
    The govt must move them to a sustainable location.

  • A.S. Minor

    I am an avid #MentalHealthAwareness advocate and performer, and I love this so much. I travel the country trying to bring that awareness on stages, in classrooms, hospitals, and on my YouTube channel, so I get excited when I see other advocates. 💙❤

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