The other day I received an email from one of our counsellors regarding a client she had been working with for over 8 years. The client was near death, comatose and had listed her as next of kin, because there was no one else in their life. The counsellor was legitimately distraught and wanted to do the right thing ethically, legally and compassionately.
How sad for many of the people we serve. Their only trusted friend or replacement kin is someone who is paid to be there. Yes, we do have wonderful staffs that care, above and beyond their vocation; and it is a vocation, not just a job. However, it remains distressing to hear yet again of someone with mental illness who has been stigmatized and marginalized to the extent that their only support is someone paid to be with them. How would you feel if that was your only relationship?
Thankfully this individual had at least our staff member to rely on, because there are many more who do not even have that support. You can see them on the street. The next time you pass one of your fellow human beings on the street, you may want to take the time to offer help or even say hello. That may be the only human contact they have that day.