The Soloist is the true story of Los Angeles journalist, Steve Lopez, who befriends a man named Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers happens to be a homeless Julliard trained musician who has Schizophrenia. It is a most special story about loss, friendship, understanding and redemption.
Much stigma surrounds Schizophrenia despite research that shows it holds a neurobiological origin for the disorder. Many still believe that those who have mental illness are unmotivated, lazy or are of weak character - and that their homelessness is by choice, not from circumstance.
Take Part offers some suggestions should you encounter a person living on the streets:
1. Make eye contact. Smile.
2 . Consider giving supplies, like a small plastic bag of toiletries, snacks, food or grocery coupons.
3. Donate your gently worn clothes to a local homeless facility.
4. Watch your words. Don’t call people who are homeless “bums,” “transients,” or even “the homeless.” They are still people first.
5. If you want to do more, consider volunteering.
Walsh, T., et al (2008). Rare Structural Variants Disrupt Multiple Genes in Neurodevelopmental Pathways in Schizophrenia Science, 320 (5875), 539-543 DOI: 10.1126/science.1155174