I want to unpack the question of the awkwardness around homelessness.
First, there is a legal definition of homeless, and a social/moral one.
The legal definition includes not having a permanent home or place of residence. Within homeless there’s a spectrum ranging from hotel to hostel to the street. Charities work at all levels; providing emergency hostels, soup kitchens at one end, and employment and legal advice on the other.
The archetypal awkward homelessness situation is specifically about a homeless person, on the street, asking for change. It is a very familiar situation to a lot of people.
People who have begged/panhandled for money routinely say how difficult and emotionally draining it is. Conversations tend to focus on the impact of giving cash; is it beneficial? Answers fall into two camps. The official line from most charities and from the police force is that cash is dangerous, exploitable, and doesn’t address the route of the problem.
If you care about mental health and suicide prevention; read this right now.
“It’s as though we’ve seen someone having a heart attack, but we start asking what they had for dinner the night before, or kicking ourselves for not offering them aspirin that morning.”
As both a suicide attempt and loss survivor, I need to climb up onto my soapbox for a minute.
Suicide attempts, from a “preventative” standpoint, are rarely, if ever, as easily prevented as calling a hotline or a loved one. “Reaching out” — while incredibly important — is not the be-all-end-all of preventative strategies.
Especially considering the fact that many of us have a history of asking for help, and not getting the care that we needed.
Unfortunately, Kika’s been having a few problems recently, coping with the hot weather – so Amit writes about his experiences below, and adds some tips for keeping your dog cool in the summer heat.
We can’t control the weather
As a Guide Dog owner, I know full well that the weather is one of those things that you cannot control and can really throw your routine out of the window. Extreme weather is challenging, whether it’s really hot or really cold, it will have an impact on your dog and how they work. But you can prepare for it.
In winter, there is the constant worry of grit getting in a dogs paws (the salt can burn them) and snow covering the ground means that a Guide Dog…
Every now and again, a minor celebrity or institution will announce that they are ‘challenging themselves’ to ‘be poor for a day’ in order to raise awareness of the plight of people living in poverty in the UK. Sometimes this is done through charitable initiatives such as Live Below The Line, which I have done…
Back in university, I managed to become the president of the feminism society. I’ve told people about it so much since then it feels like a meme, but in reality I was mega-stoked. It was one of my proudest moments, I felt relevant, I felt empowered, I felt challenged.
Flash forward to today. It’s 4 years later. My university events and “debates” we organised feel like distant irrelevant memories. At the time we were so proud of ourselves, making feminism bigger on campus, meeting with the Student Union to talk about fighting Lad Culture by reaching out to the sports teams as if that wouldn’t be offensive…
I didn’t completely fill those shoes, but after spending so many years struggling, I was just relieved to have a label — any label — to help me make sense of things. And when none of the medications seemed to work, they told me I was borderline. While I had a nagging feeling that wasn’t exactly right, either, I didn’t know what else it could be.
I was passed around the mental health system, with clinicians throwing their hands up, unsure of why I wasn’t responsive to any of the therapy or medication they offered me.
At one time, I was on seven different psychiatric medications, and yet I was still reporting that I felt deeply hopeless and anxious.
When I was hospitalized a second time, included among my discharge papers was a handout about personality disorders, emphasizing that…