I met Jason in St John’s, Newfoundland the day we ended the Canadian segment of the Invisible People road trip. There was a ceremony at city hall and Jason, who lived in a homeless youth shelter at the time, showed up at the event. Meeting Jason, and the encouraging words he said to everyone about Invisible People was truly a highlight of last year.
For such a young man Jason sure has a lot of wisdom as he explains homelessness,”being homeless can mean some crack addict strung-out in the street or someone who is striving every day to better their life yet the opportunity is not there. But the one thing every homeless person has in common is every single day is a struggle”.
Jason suffers from a minor mental illness. He had to leave home at 16, and is lucky now that the local youth shelter has a bed for him. Jason is getting the help he needs, but like he says, there are so many people that are homeless because of mental illness who are not receiving the help they desperately need.
I will never forget Jason and I hope our paths will cross soon. He is full of life and a brilliant young man.
I hope you took the time to listen to all of Jason’s story and his 3 wishes.
In Los Angeles County, an area with over 15 million people, there are only 800 mental health beds. We have a serious crisis in North America with the lack of adequate mental health services.
Mental illness affects everyone. How has it affected you and what actions can we take to make it better?