One of the indicators that someone is having some sort of crises is how they practice their personal hygiene. When it comes to the mentally ill; one could say that they are experiencing some sort of crises. If it is a bout of depression, where suffers find it difficult to do everyday tasks personal hygiene will become neglected and in some cases the person will forget to do simple things such as brushing their teeth or washing their face. Those who suffer with some type of schizophrenia may lack the motivation and lose all interest in practicing any type of personal hygiene.

The kicker to this is that the mentally ill person may feel that there is nothing wrong in how they are practicing their personal hygiene. In many cases they become arguementive when they are asked if they took a shower, or are reminded to take a bath before going out in public. Just imagine that as a sound minded person, someone told you that you smell and to go wash yourself. Will you feel embarrass, get upset at the person telling you to wash, and felt that there is nothing wrong with your personal hygiene?  How do we know that the mentally ill will have those same feelings that a sound minded person will have when told that they stink and to wash that ass. After all, the mentally ill may not recognize that they have a poor personal hygiene problem.

In the support house; some of the residents fall into this category. It becomes a challenge to staff to consistently remind certain residents to go and wash themselves after their body odor start to become nauseating. But once in a while a resident takes the matter to the extreme.

Ross Greenberg was just accepted into the Support House program. Ross isn’t the typical person that the Support House sees. He doesn’t have a criminal record, and he is a college graduate and has some sort of relationship with his parents. His problem developed when his parents died. He took over the apartment; he kept up with the rent by being employed. However, because of his mental situation, he was unable to keep steady employment. He sub letted rooms in his apartment, but it all became overwhelming and eventually he lost the apartment and became homeless.   

Now that Ross is in the Support House ironically he has not observed any type of personal hygiene since he became a resident in the supportive housing for the last couple of months.  On this particular day, when Ross came down from his room for his meds he began to scratch himself. When he scratched his head it was full of head lice and some of the lice fell to the ground. The med manager was appalled and told Ross to get out of the med room before anymore lice fall on the floor.  The med Manager brought Ross’s meds to him outside the med room. When she handed Ross the meds, she discovered that Ross’s clothes were covered in bed bugs. Ross was told to go back to his room; and he was banned from going any other location within the Support House.

A maintenance team was dispatched and when they went into to his room they found it to be infested with bed bugs. EMS was called to take Ross back to the Psych Ward to get cleaned up. Meanwhile everything in his room was thrown out. This includes his personal clothes and furniture, even his bed. Ross will be released from the Hospital when the treatment for lice is completed.

Ross was held at the Psych Ward for a day and after he was released and given transportation back to the Support House in nothing but a hospital gown; he made his way to the Caseworker’s office and gave in the discharged papers. When the Support staff sighted Ross, they were puzzled. The Psych Ward did not cut his hair and beard, how can they be sure that he has been de-liced?  It turned out that a chemical method such as a lice killing shampoo, or other clinical proven product was used to kill the lice; and the Psych Ward deemed Ross lice free.

A week later, it was found that Ross was still afflicted with lice. Maybe the Psych Ward killed the living lice, but did not remove the eggs from Ross’s scalp. Now those eggs have hatched and Ross is no better off than he was before.

Now he was carted back to the Psych Ward for more lice treatment. This time the Psych Ward cut his hair and beard and did a more thorough job, something that they should have done in the first place. Now that all is well, Ross was given donated clothing. His furniture and bed were replaced and his room was cleared of bed bugs.

Now it’s been a month and his Caseworker was conducting a room inspection. She couldn’t help but notice a foul smell somewhere in the room. She looked around and couldn’t find the source, until she opened the bureau’s draw and moths, and flies flew out of the draw. Ross did not launder any of his clothing after he wore them. Once again his clothing had to be thrown out.

Ross continues his behavior of not bathing, so now the Support House staff has to take the extra precautionary steps and get Ross in the shower and instruct him on personal hygiene. If they don’t do it, Ross will attract lice, bed bugs and other pests which will eventually spread out and start to invade the premise.

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