Saving Our Streets: Part 3- Treating Mental Illness at a Young Age

Mental Illness and developmental disabilities are starting to be detected in children as early as two years old. The most common childhood mental disorders are anxiety disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are many treatment options available for children that are affected but extensive assessments have to be done to see what is most effective for the child, such as medications, educational interventions, and psychotherapy. Children with mental-health problems can have lower educational achievement, greater involvement with the criminal justice system, and fewer stable placements in the child welfare system.  Due to mental illness being frowned upon in black communities, many parents do not take them to get tested, so either most people are checked by a school doctor, or there’s a major issue when the child gets older.

Many colleges are becoming proactive with addressing and treating mental illness. Depression and anxiety is on the rise in many college campuses around the world. According to the U.C.L.A Higher Education Research Institute Annual Freshman Survery, a record high of 11.9 percent of the students in the 2016 incoming class reported “frequently” feeling depressed in the past year, and 13.9 percent said “there was a very good chance they would seek personal counseling in college.” And for the first time in the survey’s history, less than half (47 percent) consider their mental health to be above average relative to their peers. “I was first tested in college, I had been feeling funny and needing to know why and what was going on with me, especially because it was causing me to start sleeping a lot,” said Bruce Garcia.

Bruce was tested in college but did not follow through with his medications. After his third year he dropped out and turned to a life of drugs. “I am in treatment now, and I go to my group meetings. I have been trying to stay focused but what I do realize is I am a lot better around people that I feel are more like myself. It’s not easy being a recovering drug addict and I feel that I should probably be dead, but group has really been helping me,” said Garcia.

Community outreach programs in Detroit have been working hard and working together to keep mental illness and drug abuse down in the city.  Detroit Recovery Project and The Detroit Rescue Mission are two leading community programs for assistance in the city of Detroit and the metro area. Support is community based, and a lot of these non-profit programs need help from community volunteers. Mental illness can be controlled with the proper treatment and the proper support.

Mental Illness and developmental disabilities are starting to be detected in children as early as two years old. The most common childhood mental disorders are anxiety disorders, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). There are many treatment options available for children that are affected but extensive assessments have to be done to see what is most effective for the child, such as medications, educational interventions, and psychotherapy. Children with mental-health problems can have lower educational achievement, greater involvement with the criminal justice system, and fewer stable placements in the child welfare system.  Due to mental illness being frowned upon in black communities, many parents do not take them to get tested, so either most people are checked by a school doctor, or there’s a major issue when the child gets older.

Many colleges are becoming proactive with addressing and treating mental illness. Depression and anxiety is on the rise in many college campuses around the world. According to the U.C.L.A Higher Education Research Institute Annual Freshman Survery, a record high of 11.9 percent of the students in the 2016 incoming class reported “frequently” feeling depressed in the past year, and 13.9 percent said “there was a very good chance they would seek personal counseling in college.” And for the first time in the survey’s history, less than half (47 percent) consider their mental health to be above average relative to their peers. “I was first tested in college, I had been feeling funny and needing to know why and what was going on with me, especially because it was causing me to start sleeping a lot,” said Bruce Garcia.

Bruce was tested in college but did not follow through with his medications. After his third year he dropped out and turned to a life of drugs. “I am in treatment now, and I go to my group meetings. I have been trying to stay focused but what I do realize is I am a lot better around people that I feel are more like myself. It’s not easy being a recovering drug addict and I feel that I should probably be dead, but group has really been helping me,” said Garcia.

Community outreach programs in Detroit have been working hard and working together to keep mental illness and drug abuse down in the city.  Detroit Recovery Project and The Detroit Rescue Mission are two leading community programs for assistance in the city of Detroit and the metro area. Support is community based, and a lot of these non-profit programs need help from community volunteers. Mental illness can be controlled with the proper treatment and the proper support.

Saving our Streets Part 2

Drug Abuse is an issue that have been taking over many urban cities in the United States of America since the early 70s and have been an issue since. Mental Illness have been named as one of the major causes of drug abuse. In the past people were just being treated for drugs and not for the underlying problem that caused the abuse. Now and days there are many programs that work with individuals to treat both the mental illness and the drug abuse such at the Behavioral Center of Michigan located in Warren, MI, where the treatment works hand-in-hand.

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Photo of the main office for Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries

The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries along with many other organizations in the city of Detroit work together to keep people safe and off drugs. There are many different programs offered and half-way houses that are setup so that people can be successful before, during, and after their program. Many of these non-profit organizations cater to the person’s individual needs, understanding that everyone is different, treatment is catered to the individual person’s needs. DRMM has several locations across the city of Detroit that are set up to assist people and their needs. They have Genius House 1-3 and the Christian Guidance Center for men and women, these are places where they can go for treatment, have meetings and also have a safe place to sleep. According to the Facebook page for DRMM, in 2016 963 men and women received mental health and substance abuse treatment.

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Photo of Vernon Bryan Standing outside DRMM Christian Guidance Center

Vernon Bryan is a resident of Detroit that has been in the treatment program and is a witness that it works. “It used to be hard for me to talk about my life but now it is something that helps the lives of other young men. When I was on the street, I never thought that programs like this worked because so many people that I ran with tried before. One day I knew that I could not live like that anymore, that I had a family and needed to be a better man for them. I called the number, they sent me to CDC (Christian Guidance Center) and I went through the program. From there I stayed in another home that I am now employed through an able to help other people like me. It’s like a second chance at life,” says Bryan.

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Photo of Vernon Bryan standing outside the residential facility for men where he works

Drug and alcohol abuse have been on the rise in Michigan and about the national average, since 2003. With many efforts in many different cities to keep the streets clean, it seems that each year it there are new drugs being introduced, or something easier to access. It’s not just up to law enforcement, but also the community. Community outreach programs are designed to help, but they are non-profit and many of them depend on donations or partnerships. “We partner with hundreds of churches, para-churches and for-profit corporations who send us volunteer groups. Because of that we have over 300 men and women graduating from various life-changing programs next month, this is what we are here for,” says Rev. C. Paschal, director of Spiritual Life and Public Relations for DRMM.

Saving Our Streets

Dale A. a homeless man that has been living on the streets of Detroit for going on 4 years now, due to dysfunction in his family

The city of Detroit has a growing number of people living on the streets or in need, and many different community service organizations have pitched in and are offering services to people in need. In 2015 there were more than 69,000 people in the State of Michigan reported homeless during homeless week November 12th-20th. Due to a growing number of donations and community outreach that number has gone down, and the city of Detroit hopes to keep it down.

“I can remember my first time seeing someone homeless and asking my mom questions about what was going on with the man. At first I thought it was a game almost, I didn’t understand that the person was homeless, and I never thought that it would be me. I can remember wondering why people were so cruel to the guy, he just sat outside the local store not bothering anyone, but now I wonder when kids look at me if they are thinking the same things,” says Megan Zuwinski.

This winter have not been easy on the people living on the streets of Detroit, there have been many churches that have opened their doors as emergency warming centers for people living on the streets and with no heat. Because there are so many people and so little resources, many of the homeless find shelter an abandon homes or buildings with hopes that blankets will keep them warm.

“I have been to warming centers and shelters but it is hard to go with Meagan, usually they want to separate us because we are not married. Many times we try to make enough money so that we can afford to get a room for the night at a cheap motel, if not we find an abandon house and make the best of the situation. Many times I have wanted to go to different places for help, but with no ID or way to verify who I really am to the people, it is hard for me to get the correct help that I need.” says Dale A.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, COTS, and many other organizations have teamed up with the Detroit Homeless Coalition to help keep the homeless safe and warm. To find out how to donate or volunteer to any of the organization in partner with the National Homeless Coalition, you can visit them at http://nationalhomeless.org there will be a list of all organizations affiliated along with how to contact them.

 

Dion Shepherd Jr. Talks About 60 Days In and What’s Next

Dion Shepherd Jr. a 25-year-old Detroit native talks about his time in jail and how he plans to make a difference not only in his community but the world around him. Dion’s ambitious personality have gotten him far in just a short period of time, working with Dog the Bounty Hunter his senior year of college, to being a participant on A&E’s new original series 60 Day’s In.

Shepherd obtained his undergrad degree in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University. There he was a counselor for troubled youth and did all kinds of work outside of his internship with Dog the Bounty Hunter in his field of criminal justice. Becoming bored and wanting more for himself, Shepard moved to California to pursue bigger opportunities. He went to graduate school at the University of California Irvine getting a masters in Criminal Law and Society, but first making his appearance on the show 60 Days In as a part of his master’s thesis project.

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Dion at the turning point for himself on 60 Days In. Photo still taken by: A&E digital production team

Being from the city of Detroit, Shepherd thought that jail wouldn’t be so bad based upon the things he run into on the streets from day to day. “The main goal was to stay focused and not crack, the living conditions in jail is nothing like being on the outside,” said Shepherd. “This went from being an internship I was looking into on the website, to them asking me if I wanted to be a part of the show and it worked for me because of my master’s thesis.” A project rejected twice by the university became a learning experience for Dion and others around him, often people take advantage of their freedom, or are not aware of conditions that people go through in jail, the amount of security and even the hygiene issues.

“I am very proud of my son, there are many other things that he could have done, or many other paths but he chose this. I was not sure what he was getting himself into but being his mom all I could do was support him, now the jail thing I thought was a lot, but seeing how it has motivated him now and where he is, I am just so happy and proud to be his mother,” said Kendra Grier.

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Dion Shepherd Jr. Photo taken by: Thomas Pierson Photography

Along with starting his own consulting company Elaio Properties, Shepard is currently studying for the graduate record exam so that he can become a post-graduate student at Stanford University. He is also starting a panel discussion series called Millennium Surviving and Thriving which will focus on social justice issues among millennials. “I was able to find a great mentor in Dr. Waymen Rodgers and I want to be that for other young men,” say’s Shepherd. Dion’s season of 60 Days In has ended but it is available on A&E on demand.