I am number 27 on the list for Mental Health Skill Building. I applied for it in Feburary 2015. Yes that is right almost a year and a half ago. What is mental health skill building? It is an in home service for the chronic mental health patients that have been hospitalization. We help them go to their medical appointments, their medications, socialization, and other needed services for 10 hours a week. There professionals have a bachelors or better. They are paid well. They keep people out of the hospital.
These agencies like mine can hire about 10 people. Right now an agency is number 285 on the list. That is 2,850 jobs waiting for almost 10,000 clients. We have shootings of and by mentally ill people. The hospitals are full and can’t keep them.
I called to find out why. They have two people for the whole state of Virginia to process the paperwork. Virginia has 8.401 million people. If 10 % are mentally ill, that is 840,000 people. These workers have to verify information, do office inspections, background checks and see if forms and procedures match current laws. 2 people.
If they move 3 steps a time, it will take an additional 9 months for my application to start the process. That will be next year. How long can our mentally ill people wait? How many jobs go unfilled?
I have contacted the papers, and wrote a Senator. I am pushing on. Next I go to television. I want to serve the disadvantaged, employ people. Do my civic duty.
Number 27 is not so great after all.
When is it going to end? More untreated mental illness, societal ills and anger. Some attacks are by terrorists, disgruntled people, racists, deranged, etc. Our government does nothing. They talk about declaring war on ISIS, asking for prayers, moments of silence, vigils, constant news coverage with opinions. hashtags # blue livematter, #all lives matter, #blacklives matter. Politicians chiming in on what they would do if they were in power. The NRA declares better and more guns would solve the problem. If police lives matter, you wouldn’t give guns to civilians that have repeating rounds. If black lives matter, you wouldn’t call to hang president obama or call black people thugs. If all lives matter, you wouldn’t dimish the deaths with an I’ll pray for you. No one ever said only black lives matter. We are acutely aware that black gangs kill each other. The difference is- if Tyrone kills Damone in the street, Tyrone is apprehended and prosecuted. No one mentions anything disparaging about Damones past or if he smoked a joint in 2014. If Damone is shot by a white or a cop, they dig into his past to justify it. They run his name through the mud. They find every excuse, mental illness, feared for their life,etc for the shooter who may or may not go to trial. Thats what it is about accountability. If I shoot someone, even in self defense, they should at least look into it. Anyone can say I am afraid and I thought he had a gun. Who can challenge it? Dead men tell no tales. When they don’t find a gun, oh they reached in their pocket. I thought they were going for a gun. There hands were up, well they reached for something and then put them up. Cops have tasers, clubs, cars, and many weapons at their disposal. Why is the gun the first choice to solve any problem? I don’t think all lives matter, or we wouldn’t be so quick to choose a gun to solve a problem. I want my own hashtag. #Anne for peace.
I probably should not watch the news. I get too upset over injustice. A prisoner in our jail who was mentally ill died. He was in jail for shoplifting candy. Most times he would spend a few days in and be out. He was detained for months on a mental health order. No bed was available. He did not get proper treatment. He was malnourished and suicidal. He died. The news papers and TV are all over it. But there are no beds it isn’t our fault. Why was he in jail so long for a shoplifting offense. He wasn’t even convicted. Jail guards are not prepared to deal with chronic mental illness. He was in solitary, which deteriorated his condition. His family tried to get him out. Many visits were denied due to his behaviors. If there was no bed, he should have been sent home with a mental health skill building agency to work with him. Oh wait, there aren’t enough of those. Why is that? I applied in 02/15 to be a mental health skill builder provider. I was number 178 on the list. Now in May I am number 38 on the list. They have two workers in Richmond processing all the applications for developmental group homes, outpatient, MHSB, TDT, IHH, IOP, substance abuse, and transitional living. The whole state of Virginia has two workers to process at the present time 258 applications. This isn’t the department that audits and monitors. I bet the fraud unit to recoup medicaid money has more than two workers.
The young man needed help. His family wanted to help him. We let him down by trying to save money.
Do the math. Each agency would probably hire about 10 workers at over minimum wage. 258 x 10=2,580 jobs in our state. New graduates just out of school in all parts of the state. One of those workers could have helped him, but the paperwork has bogged down their agency.
We should be ashamed. Call your state delegate and senator. The next person might be someone you love.
How often do you put up with something before you leave? How long do you let something go before you complain about it? What level do you complain to someone high up?
The scenario. I had a client call the EAP over four months from the visit. They alleged that I spent the entire session on the phone. Who would sit in a session for an hour while someone was on the phone? Why wait four months to complain about it? The whole thing of suspect from the beginning. My word against hers. I have answered the phone during a session, but I usually do not. After hours you don’t have a secretary, and a client could be in crisis. The next client could be calling for directions.
So now I hang in the balance and could be kicked off the panel on the word of one person. I even sent a letter to her about why I hadn’t seen her in awhile. Why would I do that if I had been on the phone for an hour?
I shouldn’t let this bother me. My practice has seen almost 128 clients in a year with no compalints. 128 vs. 1. Do counselors get the benefit of the doubt?
I was saddened by the death of Patty Duke. She was a champion for the rights of the mentally ill. She bravely disclosed her diagnosis in a time when people didn’t do so. She spoke out for others. She was a celebrity that used her fame for good. I will always remember her performance of Annie Sullivan in Helen Keller. She was courageous. She even wrote about her experience in her autobiography Call Me Anna. Others have made public their illnesses after her brave disclosure. Now it has less stigma and shame. Her son Sean Austin encourages people to send money to mental health or to her foundation.
The Patty Duke Mental health project.
My prayers and condolences to her family and friends. Let her legacy live on.
I finally have started my novel on my career as a therapist. I will post exercpts from time to time and hope you will critique it. I will try to be as honest as possible without giving away any client privledged information. I also will shed light on various diagnosis, failed treatments, modalities. I hope to have me grow as a person and learn as I write. Many people go into this field wanting to save the world. They have no clue. The textbooks do not tell you about assessments in the hood, walking the park to engage the homeless, going into homes to look after children, watching people detox, doing therapy in a soup kitchen and jail. It is a journey for me and for my clients. I also apologize to my first clients that I learned with and hope they got better anyway.
And don’t get me started on insurance billing. They don’t touch that.
Diane Webb fellow blogger suggests using each letter of the alphabet to list something you are grateful for right now. My list.
B- Bella and Be Be my dogs and Beverly my daughter
D- David my Dad and David my husband ( 2 people)
F- French fried
H- the Hauers my new family
I- ice cream (duh)
N- noise (it means I can hear)
O- oolong tea
U- universal love
V-Virginia my state
X- extraordinary life
Y- yarn to knit
Z- zest for living
You try it.