Mental issues, addiction a challenge for some homeless

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center sees many homeless patients, who usually suffer from at least one of two conditions.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 8:08 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Over the past month, I’ve been reporting on Casper’s growing homeless issue. This is part three of that series. I spoke with a counselor about the possible causes and possible solutions of homelessness.

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center in Casper sees many homeless patients. Chief Clinical Officer Tabbi Madrigal says patients usually suffer from at least one of two main conditions. “It is true that a lot of people who are homeless struggle with mental health or addiction issues. We see both. People who are dually diagnosed with both disorders.”

But Madrigal is quick to remind others that the problems faced by homeless residents... Aren’t so cut and dry. “Say someone with schizophrenia. They have a thought disorder that they can’t organize their behavior enough to say, ‘Okay, I have an interview tomorrow. So I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight. And I’m going to get up at 8 o’clock tomorrow and I’m going to take a shower. I’m going to get dressed and I’m going to wear interview clothes... That I may or may not have access to. And I’m going to get there on time.’ Because they don’t have transportation. Or they might have a co-occurring medical issue that they don’t have the ability to get care for. Because they don’t have insurance, or they don’t have a means of transportation to a clinic or a hospital to get their medical needs taken care of.”

Because many of their homeless patients are single and alone, Madrigal says the clinic offers a holistic approach. “Part of what we try to do is really wrap people in support. So it’s very intense initially. And how can we help you initially. And get your feet under you. And the idea is to get those people the basics, right. Let’s get you food, let’s get you shelter, let’s do that. While concurrently we’re trying to treat that mental health or that addiction issue, so that you are able to sustain that. And we’ll be here. We’re the support system. We’re the network for you. So that you can achieve those things. And hopefully, as that person becomes well, then we can back off on services. And then we can provide that more intense support system to the next person who needs us.”

The Central Wyoming Counseling Center offers help to anyone who seeks it, regardless of income or insurance coverage.