Silent Voices: People with Mental Disorders on the Street

Robert Okin, M.D., Chief of Service, San Francisco General Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry; Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, UCSF; Vice Chair, UCSF School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry

We avert our eyes when we meet them on the street: homeless, mentally ill people with hand-scrawled signs, shopping carts and cardboard boxes. Still, we're curious: How did they end up on the street? How do they survive the privations of such a life? What combination of vulnerabilities, traumas, drugs, mental disorders, and financial catastrophes left them on the street? And how do some, against all odds, manage to climb out of this desperate situation? Seeking answers, Dr. Robert Okin spent two years speaking with and photographing mentally ill homeless men and women. Casting a light on their humanity, he masterfully brings these people to life with stories and images that are at once intimate and gritty.