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Stable housing and better mental health go hand in hand

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 4:37 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - On any given night, as many as 45% of homeless people in America could be struggling with their mental health.

In Monroe, The Wellspring is working to find people a home while treating their underlying health conditions.

“We actually say here ‘it’s hard to know if the mental illness caused the homelessness or if the homelessness caused the mental illness,” said Kristie Hall, Director of Homeless Services at The Wellspring.

Hall says The Wellspring operates based on a national best practice of finding people housing first.

“It’s very difficult to get the help needed for mental health, to keep up with your mental health appointments or even your regular doctor’s appointments or with getting to meetings or things that help with substance abuse if all you can think about daily is where am I gonna lay my head tonight or where can I be,” said Hall.

Hall says The Wellspring offers permanent housing opportunities along with support such as food and rent assistance to allow people to work on their mental health as soon as possible.

“If those underlying issues are not addressed, they will not stay housed,” explained Hall. “They will return right back to homelessness.”

Hall says it’s also common for veterans struggling with PTSD to experience homelessness.

“It’s about them earning your trust and knowing that you do want to help them,” Hall told KNOE.

Hall says whether it’s PTSD, schizophrenia, or any other mental illness, having support is critical.

“An episode might not always, as a matter of fact, it most often might not occur between 8-5,” explained Hall. “You need those programs where there is kind of some 24 hours, not necessarily medical care, or something like that. Just some 24-hour staff where there is someone around if they need something.”

Hall says The Wellspring provides services to anyone in search of housing.

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