Why We Do It
Schizophrenic.NYC was created, founded, & designed by Michelle Hammer, a Schizophrenic New Yorker who wants to make a difference in the way the mentally ill homeless are treated in NYC as well as change the way New Yorkers feel about mental illness. Usually, the Rorschach Test is plain black. When a person with schizophrenia looks at this test or just goes through life, things are seen from a different perspective. What I did was by using my artwork in the test, I changed the colors and patterns so now everyone sees the test from a different perspective. This makes people think differently and starts a discussion. The more discussions about mental health we have, the less stigma there will be.
Worse than having Schizophrenia, is being Schizophrenic or have any mental illness and being homeless. There is nothing that upsets us more than seeing mentally ill people living on the streets of NYC. We want this to change now. Together we can make a difference. With every purchase made a portion of our profits get donated to organizations around NYC that support the struggle of the mentally ill homeless. Together we can make a change. Join the movement.
Find where we are selling Schizophrenic.NYC merch by checking the Find Our Pop-Ups page!
Homelessness & Mental Illness
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25% of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness. In comparison, only 6% of Americans are severely mentally ill (National Institute of Mental Health, 2009). In a 2008 survey performed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 25 cities were asked for the three largest causes of homelessness in their communities. Mental illness was the third largest cause of homelessness for single adults (mentioned by 48% of cities). For homeless families, mental illness was mentioned by 12% of cities as one of the top 3 causes of homelessness.
Serious mental illnesses disrupt people’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self care and household management. Mental illnesses may also prevent people from forming and maintaining stable relationships or cause people to misinterpret others’ guidance and react irrationally. This often results in pushing away caregivers, family, and friends who may be the force keeping that person from becoming homeless. As a result of these factors and the stresses of living with a mental disorder, people with mentally illnesses are much more likely to become homeless than the general population (Library Index, 2009). A study of people with serious mental illnesses seen by California’s public mental health system found that 15% were homeless at least once in a one-year period (Folsom et al., 2005). Patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable.
Poor mental health may also affect physical health, especially for people who are homeless. Mental illness may cause people to neglect taking the necessary precautions against disease. When combined with inadequate hygiene due to homelessness, this may lead to physical problems such as respiratory infections, skin diseases, or exposure to tuberculosis or HIV. In addition, half of the mentally ill homeless population in the United States also suffers from substance abuse and dependence (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Minorities, especially African Americans, are over-represented in this group. Some mentally ill people self-medicate using street drugs, which can lead not only to addictions, but also to disease transmission from injection drug use. This combination of mental illness, substance abuse, and poor physical health makes it very difficult for people to obtain employment and residential stability.