• Stress, Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and Phobias
  • Depression
  • Shame, Guilt, and Low self-esteem
  • Personal growth challenges
  • Issues related to one's work environment
  • Loss and Grief
  • Healing from trauma
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Marriage / Couple Counseling
  • Recovering from infidelity
  • Separation, Divorce, End of Relationship Transitions
  • Parenting Issues

Changing ‘Perspective’ – Helping vs. Blaming!

BY: Kami Phagoo, Rutgers University Undergraduate Psychology student – LifePsy Intern

In today’s society, we tend to associate homelessness and poverty to either drugs and alcohol or blaming the victim. What people do not actually know is that homelessness more so due to mental illness rather than drugs, personality traits or having the motivational drive. The truth is, poverty will always exist. There will always be poor people and rich people. There will always be inequality, because not everyone is capable of having resources that someone else has; Classes such as upper-middle class, middle class, working class, working poor, etc. There will always be someone that is more educated and successful than someone else. There will always be inequality because not everyone of capable of having the resources someone else has. There is only so much that can be done to change that. Our economy only has so many jobs available, their will always be an unemployment rate, therefore there will always be people without jobs. And the problem is no one looks at this as a reason for someone being homeless or jobless or less educated.


In many cultures, for example my own, mental illness does not apply to “our people.” As much as my parents watch the news and read articles on depression, personality disorders and any form of psychosis, they do not associate it with our ethnicity. My parents were always thought that if you are a failure in any aspect of life then it is your fault. It is not society’s fault that there is not enough jobs, housings, or resources available for everyone, it is your fault not anyone else or any other reason. I do not know anyone with my ethnicity with any form of mental illness or diagnosis. We are taught to believe that if we do not succeed, our only obstacle is ourselves. For example, colleges can only accept a certain amount of students a school year, if we did not get one of those spot then it our fault the college didn’t accept us not that there is not enough spots. This can cause students to associate themselves as a failure or have low self-esteem because their was not enough spots. Parents, friends and others will blame these people for that getting in that college or get that one spot for a job with that company. We will often blame the victim and think that they are just not good enough and that is why they did not get the job or whatever else.

From a mental health standpoint, we need to educate society to not blame the victim for certain situations they are in. They need to stop looking at homeless people and saying the reason they are homeless is because they are lazy and refuse to get a job. “These people just want to live off the government and not work.” “Homeless and unemployed people are the way that they are because they do not want to work hard like the rest of us. If he just stopped using drugs or drinking, he could find a job and get an apartment like the rest of us. But the reason he won’t is because he is simply lazy. Americans are lazy.” We need to help these people by not only creating more jobs and housing, but by helping them make that first step to seek help. If we educated society and the media more and helped them to see mental illness as any other physical illness, then we could help accommodate these people to seek treatment, so that they can get jobs and housings. We could help young kids and adults get the help they need at a early age before they become homeless or jobless. We need to educate society and the media that mental illness is as worse as physical illness, maybe even worse. If we don’t blame someone who is paralyzed or in a wheelchair for being homeless or jobless then we also shouldn’t blame someone with untreated psychosis.