Schizophrenia is a severe, lifelong mental disorder marked by impaired thinking, emotions and behaviors. It is found in one percent of the general population and in ten percent of people who have a first-degree relative with it. Schizophrenic patients are typically unable to filter outside stimuli and may have enhanced perceptions of sounds, colors and other affects of the environment. If untreated, most schizophrenics withdrawal from interactions with other people, and lose their ability to take care of personal needs such as grooming and eating.
In this day and age, mental health care is expensive and difficult to attain for many people—some health insurance plans don’t even cover seeing a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. For those that do cover it, you’ll still end up paying over $100 an hour, on average, as your co-pay depending on the doctor. Even for those of us with a full time job and health insurance, getting proper mental health care can feel overwhelming and overpriced. Now imagine that you don’t have a job, health insurance…or even a place to call home. Approximately 254,000 men, women and children experience homelessness in Los Angeles County during some portion of the year, according to the Institute for the Study of Homelessness and Poverty at the Weingart Center and an estimated 25% of these homeless individuals in Los Angeles County suffer from some form of mental illness. That means that on average, there are around 63,500 homeless individuals in Los Angeles each year struggling with mental illness who are not in a position to consistently pay to see someone or be on medication.