My initial reaction to the news would be one of worry and apprehension. I know that mentally ill people may be violent in some ways and that they may wander around the community and with my young child at home, the negative scenarios would be endless. On the other hand I know that mentally ill people can also be cured and they should be given the chance to have their lives back as fully functioning members of society.
With a halfway house as a neighbor, I would think that it would probably pose a threat to our way of life and the safety of my child. Its because the proximity of the center to us would disrupt our way of life for example I would not have peace of mind knowing that mentally-ill people are beside us, thus it would possibly lead to over protectiveness. I would also be overly concerned of who my child interacts with especially if the mentally-ill residents are allowed to roam the premises. I would also probably think that the neighborhood is not a safe and healthy community to raise my child. The stigma and the negative attitudes of people to the half-way house is also not far from reality and maybe as neighbors people would think of us differently also.
Having a half-way house for mentally-ill people as a neighbor brings mixed emotions, fear, anxiety, pity and generally I would be upset. I would fear that the residents in the facility would harm us and especially harm my child. I would be anxious of the stress of having mentally-ill neighbors, that I might always be thinking of how they would affect our daily lives. I would also feel pity for those mentally-ill people because they do deserve a place to stay where they can get better before being institutionalized. And in all honesty, I would be upset by the fact that as a health care provider, I should not be feeling and thinking this because I know that they can do get better and I should not be too narrow minded about it.
Based on my feelings and thoughts about the halfway house, I would probably wait and see whether what the conditions are in the facility is and how it impacts the community before I decide to leave the community. Since I don’t want to be consumed by my irrational thoughts about the matter and I also don’t want to risk the safety of my child, then I would try my best to be objective in the decisions that I would make.
Atkinson, R. et.al (1998). Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology 8th ed. New York, Prentice-Hall