DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my closest friends has a 20-year-old daughter, "Suzie," with mental health issues. When Suzie was about 16, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Last year, at age 19, she had a breakdown after smoking something, and she ended up in the hospital for a few weeks. This was stressful to my friend, who also has two younger children (ages 7 and 8) with her husband. After leaving the hospital, Suzie had a few tantrums and hit one of her siblings.
Suzie has made it clear she wants her own place. This family can't afford to pay for her to have her own apartment, and since she has worked at her minimum-wage job for only two months, she can't afford to live on her own. My friend has applied for government assistance so Suzie can have her own place.
We don't need more people on the streets just because this family can't cope. Would I be out of line to suggest my friend find an assisted living facility for her daughter rather than encouraging her to seek government funds for her own place? -- Mental Health Help, Detroit
DEAR MENTAL HEALTH HELP: Your idea is a wise one. Your friend needs help to care for her daughter. It may be safer for her to live in a facility that keeps a watchful eye out for inhabitants with mental health challenges. The tricky part is that these types of facilities are not as plentiful as they once were. Your friend will have to navigate the government to identify which agency can help her daughter. This will take time and patience. While looking for a live-in situation, she should also look for an outpatient option where her daughter can go to receive support and counseling.