Homelessness in America is an issue that many have found more convenient to “push to the back burner.” Dasen Brajkovic is a psychiatrist who currently lives and works in New Jersey as the Medical Director of Psychiatric Services at Staten Island University Hospital. Although he keeps busy managing a team of 60 medical professionals, he believes it is important to provide healthcare to the homeless. As a psychiatrist, he knows that many who find themselves living on the streets suffer from medical conditions and mental health issues. He enjoys spending his free time volunteering at local homeless shelters and giving hope back to those in the community who are often overlooked and undervalued.
One any given night in the United States there are over 500,000 who have nowhere to call home. Of these homeless individuals, there are over 200,000 who belong to a family while over 350,000 are individuals navigating life alone. An estimated 15%, which comes to over 80,000 people, are considered “chronically homeless”. Even more sobering, nearly 50,000 of the homeless in America are veterans.
Of the homeless population, it is estimated that around one-third suffer from serious mental illnesses. These illnesses can drastically decrease their ability to support themselves in society, leading to chronic homelessness where the numbers of those with mental illness are even higher. Those in the medical profession who choose to come forward and make a difference, like Dasen Brajkovic, are improving lives and communities around the nation by using their talent and expertise to simply care for those in need.