It doesn't take much to get shut out of the group. That's the bad news about being a social being. The good news is that small changes can have big impacts in being included. So, it's puzzling why social workers, therapists and compassionate acquaintances don't clue the isolated mentally ill about how they can come to enjoy the benefits of being a part of. That includes healing.
At a twice-a-week lecture/discussion series, a middle aged man living at a group home attends. He is one of the 45 million of us who experience mental illness each year (Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration). Obviously, he is educated and bright. Afterwards when we mill around, no one joins him.
He keeps us away from him, through design or ignorance, through his "potato chip habit." Every twice-a-week, he brings a giant bag of chips, loudly eats them, and keeps wiping the grease from his hands on whatever. Dirty looks sent his way go unheeded.
Can't someone, anyone in his support system do some "potato chip therapy?" Gently clue him in. Such a small change could break open for him the usual ways we humans heal through socializing.