Homelessness is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

Homelessness is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

Homelessness is TOO BIG TO IGNORE

By Mark Vann

When I was homeless for a year-and-a-half, my kids would sometimes visit me at the shelter. That meant a lot, but I know it was heartbreaking for them to see their dad like that. To make matters worse, my untreated mental illness often left me hearing voices and seeing things no one else could see.

My homelessness — anyone’s homelessness — is too big to ignore because no one deserves to feel alone, scared and hopeless. That’s why I’m thankful you cared enough about me, and everyone wanting a better life, by donating to the Association.

I was able to move into Association housing in late 2016 and continue to thrive today. All the while, I’ve stayed connected to my life-changing mental and physical health care in the community.

Plus, the Association’s Creating Connections socialization program regularly takes me on fun outings, like bowling or going to the movies, with other people who understand what it’s really like to live in recovery from mental illness.

Looking back on my journey, one of the best days of my life was moving into my apartment and then telling my kids I was finally safe at home. Now they come over to my place, and we spend more quality time together than ever.

I am so grateful that my kids finally have a healthy and happy father back in their lives.


4,199 Oklahomans were counted among the people experiencing homelessness during the 2017 Point-in-Time count.

Follow our series featuring stories containing information about how you can engage, take action and make a difference.

We have Tulsa & OKC May Events!

May 23 in OKC: QPR Suicide Prevention Training

Join us at noon in Oklahoma City at DC on Film Row community event space. Bring your lunch or buy it at the food truck Murphy’s Cook Shack that will be there and learn how to ask a question and save a life from suicide. During this free suicide prevention training known as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), you’ll learn warning signs of suicide and ways to walk alongside someone as they connect to services. Like CPR, the more people that are trained, the more equipped we are as a community to help someone in need. Invite a friend or family member to come with you!

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Give For May is Mental Health Month!

Our #TooBigToIgnore campaign for May is Mental Health Month is an awareness campaign that focuses on some of the dire issues our state is facing. The Association is on the frontlines of working on solutions to these issues and we cannot do it without you! Your gift will continue to help us provide life-changing programs and services for people impacted by mental illness, suicide, homelessness and criminal justice.

We can’t make a difference in people’s lives without your generous support!

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NOTE: This is the third of five stories in our May is Mental Health Month TOO BIG TO IGNORE series. These stories emphasize the fact that too many Oklahomans ignore mental illness, homelessness, suicide and the fact that our jails and prisons have become de facto institutions. Oftentimes, it’s only when one or more of these dire issues impact our friends, co-workers and loved ones that people finally take notice. This is why we cannot — and will not — stop making this message heard loud and clear in our communities, the halls of the Capitol, and in every Oklahomans’ living room.


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