Dear Amanda Bynes,
Your parents have officially stated that you are paranoid and homeless. Not exactly a great press release for a 27-year-old actress who has spent half her life in television and on the silver screen.
Is this just another public battle over riches--like when Macauley Culkin's parents fought over his millions--or are your parents seriously worried about your well-being? Are they trying to keep you from becoming another Hollywood casualty like the star of Glee?
You're not alone. Others like you have struggled and gone from riches to rags.
Although they are less famous than you are, many other people in this country struggle with issues similar to yours. They start out as successful accountants, teachers, or engineers and, through a series of events, end up homeless.
I know. I've seen them walk through the front doors of PATH. We sometimes think that only old, drunk, mentally ill men experience homelessness. But that's not true. Homelessness threatens many people, even successful professionals and celebrities.
You're not alone. People are praying for you.
Your celebrity peers are rooting for you. Nick Cannon, your former Nickelodeon co-star, has publicly stated that he is praying for you. Your family, friends, and fans are all offering their support and encouragement during this difficult time.
You're not alone. Other people have been through this.
Homelessness is caused by many things: physical or emotional abuse, a difficult transition from deployment back to U.S. culture, or being chronically ill without health insurance. Sometimes, homelessness may be the result of reckless drug use. Other times, untreated mental illness causes irrational behavior and poor choices that lead to the streets.
Because it is not illegal to be homeless, sometimes the only way to help someone is through conservatorship. This means a legal decision is made that the person is unstable and/or in danger of harming self or others.
Conservatorship is rarely a "money grab" by greedy relatives. Most often, it is a last-resort act of compassion taken to save the life of a loved one. We have, at times, encouraged family members with loved ones struggling on the streets to walk this path.
It is a difficult choice to make.
Support from friends and family, and acknowledging that a problem exists in the first place, are positive steps toward healing. But sometimes others need to intervene, or even temporarily take control, in order to keep their loved ones safe, healthy, and off the streets.
Sometimes, the most important thing is realizing that you are not alone.
Follow Joel John Roberts on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joeljohnroberts