Week 5: Someone To Talk To – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 5: Someone To Talk To

So this past few weeks, I have been making phone calls to families that identified as being homeless in the last school year. One of the questions I ask is “is your student(s)/family receiving any mental health services as a result of experiencing homelessness?”. So far I have called the parents or guardians of about 550 students and only 5% said yes. Yesterday I called a parent and she began to tell me how she feels and how it has been so hard for her to take care of her child and look for housing. She has probably been in the situation for about two years now. She was explaining to me how expensive housing in itself has become and how living paycheck to paycheck has not allowed her to be able to purchase or rent a place to stay.

The reason why she told me all of this was because she really felt like she needed to get it off her chest and that she really couldn’t go and tell her child all of this. She did not have people around to vent to or clear her mind. As a result, she said that she needed some mental health services because she was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Even though I felt very useless and unable to help her with her situation, she thanked me for listening to her. It breaks my heart to see families go through this and their kids. Even though we might not be able to change the world in one day, week, or even year we can start little by little even if it means listening to the people in our community.

1 thought on “Week 5: Someone To Talk To”

  1. Hey Edisa, thank you for sharing this experience. It’s so frustrating seeing how either the policies or apathy (or both) of people in power are directly harming communities and individuals. And then, as you mentioned, the feeling of uselessness can be overwhelming when all you can really do is listen and let people vent to you about things neither of you can control. I appreciate your positive takeaway from the experience and hope that this positivity stays with you and in all of us throughout the rest of our lives.

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