Thursday, January 21, 2010

By now many people have head about the closing of adult mental health services at Central State Hospital. At this time I am not affected by this. But many people Iknow and care about will be, in addition to the community in which I live.

I worked in the Powell building when I first came to CSH in 2001. I worked there until three years ago when I moved from adult mental health services to forensic services. When I worked there, we would often look around at our full units and our multitude of mentally ill patients and discuss the fact that there was job security. People will always need mental health services and we would hae to be there to provide them. It looks like that has changed. I'm not going to go in to why I think this happened, how it happened or any of the decisions made. But what I will say is that this could be devastating to many people I know as well as this community. 200 jobs. That's 200 people who will be moved to another job either at CSH or another hospital. How many of those who are moved to other hospitals will be able to afford to relocate? How many will want to? Our community has already seen the closures of prisons, the YDC and industries. Can we handle another major employer closing? The crime rate has seemed to rise as more and more people lose their jobs. This community is shutting down. Jobs are lost, money is lost, businesses close down. It's all related.

For me, at the time I have what may be a false sense of security. The state has spent a lot of man hours and money trying to fix our forensics facility. We are going to be the pilot for a new behavior support program. We have people calling every day trying to send us more patients. We're still here. The only thing we can realistically do is just keep on doing our jobs and pray that the hammer won't fall again.

Some times I wish I had maybe gone to a for profit to work. Somewhere that has the funds to do more than what we have been able to do. But then I realize that I work somewhere where I am needed and I'm working with those whom other's have found it more comfortable to forget that they exist. I truly enjoy seeing our patients discharge back into the community to start their new lives.

Several years ago, I heard this quote from Mother Theresa that I've always found to describe what we do...

"We the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing."


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