May 10, 2005

Los Angeles Schizophrenia Story - Juilliard Musician Becomes Homeless

Excellent Advocacy/Personal Stories on Homelessness and Schizophrenia

During the past month LA Times Columnist Steve Lopez has had three excellent stories about a homeless man (Nathaniel Anthony Ayers) who had attended Ohio University and Ohio State University, and then went to Juilliard (the famous music school in New York) for two years in the early '70s.

He developed schizophrenia many years ago and now lives in the streets of Los Angeles. The stories demonstrate the challenges and successes working with people who have schizophrenia, in a touchingly accurate column. The world needs more stories like this! Following are the three stories - in the sequential order that they were written.

Violinist Has the World on 2 Strings(April 17, 2005)
Nathaniel was shy in our first encounter a few months ago, if not a little wary. He took a step back when I approached to say I liked the way his violin music turned the clatter around downtown L.A.'s Pershing Square into an urban symphony.

Grace Notes of Caring in a Cold World (April 27, 2005)
The quality of the instruments is improving these days for Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, the downtown Los Angeles street violinist who until recently was playing a beat-up fiddle with two strings missing.

For Full Story: CLICK HERE

A Cello Backdrop for Voices Inside (May 8, 2005)
When I saw Nathaniel Anthony Ayers back in his usual location, I had to ask: How could he stand playing a crummy violin when he had a brand new cello waiting for him several blocks away?

For Full Story: CLICK HERE

To listen to an NPR story on Nathaniel Ayers - see this link.


Mr Ayers,
You're an inspiration, I have so much admiration and respect for him its just awesome.


Posted by: grinspoon at May 16, 2005 04:41 AM

I am Nathaniel's sister. I just want to thank “grinspoon” for the kind words. Nathaniel has family who loves him dearly and we want him to be safe and cared for. All the stories are fantastic but share only one side of who Nathaniel is now. This for sure is important. I don't know why he insists on living on the streets, but I believe it is because our mother past away and she was certainly his refuge, no matter what. When she died he just seemed to not want to be bothered with any one! I do really appreciate all the kindness and how people have reached out to my brother and even how the stories have made a difference, so much so that the politicians are rethinking how they treat the homeless and mentally ill. That is wonderful and I hope they will see that something has to be done and the need for restructuring the system as it stands. I love my brother very much and thanks to Mr. Steve Lopez the LA Times reporter, I am able to speak with my brother more regularly. Thank you - to all of you who care, may God bless you.

Posted by: Jennifer at December 2, 2005 12:53 PM

I am looking for a professional doctor in San Diego, CA or Mississippi whom I can consult with about schizophrenia

Posted by: dtc at May 30, 2006 01:19 PM

this story touched my heart. My love and support goes out to his family. It is hard to love some whose illness causes them to be someone different. I am hopeful that he continues to take his medication and remains safe and in communication with his family who I know loves him very much.

Posted by: Vickie at August 17, 2007 03:42 PM



username: Cindy selkow

eventaddress: men's central jail in la

time: NOW

DESCRIPTION: My Son Jason Lash is not receiving the proper health care. He has a mental disability, wound up in LA, and now he is being held, without treatment.He is very sick and needs care!
I sent this letter to the Mayor...

He is very sick! . I am concerned for his life. I would ask for your understanding and cooperation to allow me to get Jason the professional help that he needs. He is really a sweet and kind young man . he needs meds!
I would like to bring him home, (which would relieve LA County of the cumbersome tasks of processing Jason)...HE DID NOTHING WRONG... and immediately work on finding a Drug and Mental Health Rehabilitation Center to get him well. I promise you that I will do everything in my power to get Jason well and back into a society where he can become a productive young man. Please give me a chance to help my son, who I love very dearly, to get well. If he is left in jail or on the streets of LA, he will surely die.

His Father and I wrote letters to plead for care and help for our son: example...

When death occurs, maybe someone will hear me? Why wait!

The system failed him!
What will it take to save his life. He was in your hands. I begged for help......... Is this the choice you would make for your sick child?

I pray for Jason to stay alive. I pray for you, that you take this note seriously, and send Jason home to his family so we can get him the help he needs. Please help us help Jason! My GOD...we are 3000 miles away .Please help us!
Cindy Selkow 215-341-3462

Jack Lash...his Father 215-244-0150
We begged for help...even called the White House, the Mayor...they are letting my child dye!!

Please help us!! Cindy Selkow

Comments: Please help me to help my Son. He needs a hospital and medication!

Thank You! Cindy Selkow 215-341-3462

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