The Case of Delonte West

If you haven’t heard about the startling news about Delonte West yet, you can click here to begin to understand. I wanted to write a post about his often misunderstood condition so people may understand and assist.

Possibly living on the streets, West is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. This can be a severe disorder affecting one’s ability to think and behave. It is also rumored he has an addiction disorder.

There are many things he needs, if these rumors are true, to be healthy.

First, he needs to get off the streets. Mental illness and addiction disorders are only exacerbated on the streets. He needs a stable, healthy environment in which to live.

Second, he probably needs medication and counseling. He needs to be hooked up with a treatment center where he can get the medical care he needs. He may also need a mental health case manager.

Third, he needs an income. If his Bipolar Disorder is documented and severe, he may qualify for Social Security Disability (either SSI or SSDI). He needs someone who will assist him with the paperwork if his doctors think his condition makes him unable to work.

I understand that many people do not comprehend mental illness and its effects. But it can literally take you from being a star on top of the world to sleeping on a sidewalk.

Frequently, we praise and blame people for their various success and failure. But it’s incorrect to blame someone for an illness. It’s not necessarily that he needs to be pitied. It’s that he needs consistent support in order to thrive.

Mental illness is difficult to navigate, sometimes especially for the person who is suffering. No one, unless he is a danger, can force any type of help on him. He needs to want it.

I hope he gets the care and support he needs in order to thrive.

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