More than 30 South Island physicians and health care providers gathered virtually on Tuesday night to watch and discuss “Us and Them“. This impactful film explores homelessness through friendships the film maker, Krista Loughton, formed with four Victoria residents. Viewers learned of their pain, trauma, addictions, and day-to-day existence, shedding a new light on the patients the physicians see every day.
- The idea of “housing as medicine”: Without their basic needs being met, people get sick more. By giving people a roof and a door, a person’s sense of self-worth increases, giving them a reason to care better for themselves, leading to an overall increase in health.
- Many people who are homeless have suffered significant trauma in their lives, which can often lead to disruptive behaviour and addiction. Understanding and remembering this, and providing health care from a trauma-informed perspective is essential.
- Taking a ‘micro-moment’ to connect on a personal level with homeless patients will bring down barriers, increase trust, and encourage a mutual respect.
If you didn’t get a chance to be part of the evening, keep your eye on the “Us and Them” website: Virtual screenings will be made available in recognition of World Homelessness Day (October 10th) and National Housing Day (November 22nd).
Many thanks to the physicians who took the time to join this important conversation, to Dr. Fred Voon for spearheading this initiative, and Krista Loughton for sharing her work, her expertise, and her compassion.