When a community addresses a social problem that has few funding, volunteering and organizing services go a long way. Seeking treatment for mental illness is not always
easy for people experiencing the burden of homelessness. Mental Health America
collected data for 2023 and found that 28% of adults with a mental illness reported they were not able to receive treatment because they can’t afford it.* As the second most
populated city in the United States, Los Angeles residents could gather the lacking resources needed by the unhoused community and assist in their journeys. We at PLK acknowledge this and plan to keep providing our career services to show our support.
Community support is essential for mental health improvement because it gives people a sense of belonging.
People experiencing mental health problems and homelessness are not often welcomed by society so catering events to them can create a sense of belonging. As they get back on their feet, socializing with others can help them gain the comfort and confidence they need on their new path in life. The American Psychological Association states having strong social support can help people cope with their own problems by improving their self esteem and sense of autonomy.* Giving community support will most importantly provide hope and encourage people to push through hard times because they know they have the help of the community.
Community support brings more awareness to the problem.
When organizations come together and provide spaces for other organizations to
provide social services they are using their platform to raise more awareness. By
bringing volunteers together people can see first hand the challenges people face when
experiencing both mental health and financial setbacks. This is important because there
is a big misconception about the unhoused community and assumptions that it’s due to
substance abuse. A recent annual study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found the
top cause of homelessness in LA county for both families and individuals is the lack of
affordable housing.* This can encourage people to actually research the problem and
help with solutions like voting for or against laws that affect those experiencing
Supporting the community can give people a sense purpose.
Aside from people in need receiving help and raising awareness, supporting the community can
also benefit the individual volunteering. Volunteering can help you feel like you're playing your
role in society by using your abilities to help others. Showing up for your community can help
you feel more connected to yourself and the community because you are following your beliefs
and spreading good energy to your neighbors. Research has found that communities with
people who engage more with each other will experience lower rates of mental health problems
than those communities who don’t.*
In conclusion, community support is essential for mental health improvement because it gives
people a sense of belonging and purpose. Community support can also bring a sense of
purpose to someone’s life and overall make the neighborhoods a safer, healthier, and happy
“The State of Mental Health in America.” Mental Health America
“Manage stress: Strengthen your support network.” American Psychological Association
“Causes & Solutions to Homelessness.” LA Family Housing
“The Effect of Community on Mental Health” Remedy Psychiatry