Random Encounter: Why SHINE is Important
Walking to the pride parade I encountered a young man in his twenties sitting on a discarded mattress, next to a garbage bin, eating a few scraps. He asked if I could spare some change. I recognized this young gay man from Davie Village, as well as from interactions in local shops a few years ago. Now, here he is in utter despair.
I knew instantly I needed to do something. He was desperate and hungry. He recognized me and we exchanged smiles. I gave him all the money I had on me, which wasn’t much, and he began to cry and so did I. We talked for a short while and then we parted. As I was walking away he said “happy pride” and I returned the greeting. I felt hopeless, didn’t know what else to do. I believe addiction had grabbed a hold of him, and his mental state was that of a lost soul. I suggested shelters, but he really needed a place like Hope Centre. Where is he now?
The first two basic needs of any human are food and shelter. There simply is not sufficient money and housing provided to address this need. The efforts of our current city counsel has been commendable. New housing projects have been built or are in the process of being built. Food and Shelter will go a long way to help people regain their lives, and comprehensive mental health programs, facilitated by doctors and health professionals over a longer term, brings positive change to those stricken with addiction and mental health issues.
Homelessness and Mental Illness
Which came first, homelessness or mental illness? There are people on the street who suffer from mental illness, but not all. Some become mentally ill because they find themselves homeless. The despair so great it takes the soul from the individual. There is a correlation between homelessness and mental illness, it got me to thinking about what Dean Thullner told me a few days ago.
Hope Centre is doing things differently. They don’t use the band-aid system of in and out of the hospital in couple of days, or even a few hours. Hope Centre has comprehensive and integrated programs that offer a better way to deal with addiction and mental illness by not processing people in hours or days, but maybe a month and longer. This gives the time and care needed to regain one’s life force. This is why SHINE is so important. The LGBTQ2+ community helping the greater community, SHINE will showcase the talents of the many to help the many.
“The patient journey towards mental health and wellness can be long and complex,” said Mike Nader, chief operating officer at VCH-Coastal. “These programs will encompass a wide range of medical disciplines in order to collaboratively support clients and provide them a continuum of care that is recovery-oriented.”
Community helping Community
On September 10th, over 350 volunteers will come together for a fundraiser to educate, bring awareness and address the stigma of mental illness. Proceeds will go the the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and the Hope Centre at Lion’s Gate Hospital. This is something everyone can get behind.
From individuals to company CEO’s, politicians to athletes and everyone in between, now is your chance to SHINE by supporting and attending this event.
Do you have a story that you would like to share about why SHINE is important to you? Send them our way by clicking the mail icon next to authors name.