Australian poet Sandy Jeffs (1993:22) has written in The Revolving Door about the problems associated with care and recovery in both the community and the institution:
It will be hard when she goes
out to the hostile world.
It will be hard to survive dead-end boarding houses
or the half-way communities of suffering sufferers.
When the haunting delusions return,
and the way becomes unclear,
sadly it is back to the asylum with
the jangle of the keys and the closing of the doors.
In Jeffs’ poem both the community and the institution are seen as problematic. Jeffs doesn’t really need to work hard on her image of the asylum as we are ideologically prepared by the deinstitutionalisation debates to shudder at ‘the
jangle of the keys and the closing of the doors’. But why does she represent life in the community in the way that she does? Where are the pleasant images of country homes or inner metropolitan houses or apartments shared with family and friends? She represents it that way,we believe, because many people recovering from low prevalence disorders (usually associated with psychosis) find recovery difficult because they have problems accessing stable community standard housing and supportive relationships (Burdekin, 1993; Harvey, Evert, Herrman et al., 2002; Robinson,2003).
It is hard to survive in dead-in boarding houses and half-way communities…have we forgotten what it means to live in a community or be a good neighbor? I think not, when we build inclusive supported housing we will reunite the people. The people being everyone those needing a helping hand, those aging, those needing visitable housing. When we build these kind of communities we will no longer attach the stigmas of mental or physical health. We attach the idea of living well. Sandy Jeffs poem not only depicts the problem of trying to survive with mental illness but trying to survive. When we build inclusive communities we build hope, we build friendships, we build jobs and a way out of despair.
New FoundMinds will build such a community and make it an affordable, cheerful place where the veteran can make his or her place while they renew their minds from war, the mental health consumer can renew their mind from dark, lonely and sometimes a homeless place. And because it will be an inclusive community it will be a place where people from all walks of life can live and age and be welcome.