Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mental Health

If you've read this blog for any length of time then you know that I'm a former mental health worker. This evening I felt like I was back in the field. Here's the scenario, woman who is obviously mentally ill, homeless, comes into the bar. She's a mess. I get to be the person that hears her paranoid rants. I know I'm talking to someone who's a classic paranoid schizophrenic (hell. I can diagnose at 50 yards). So I try to talk with her about her treatment plans. None. I would try to offer her help, but I know that the system doesn't exist. I find myself getting angry that I really can't help this woman much.
And I'm angry at some of my bar "buddies" who asked me "why are you talking with that crazy lady?". When did compassion become such a social rarity?
"I was talkin' to a homeless drunk about religion
He said it's all I got, but it ain't much" John Bell.


Anonymous said...

You're a special man, P.

I worked briefly in the field in a private (read: reserved for the well-insured) psychiatric hospital doing admissions not treatment.

It's a tough field. You did a good thing tyring to talk to the woman in the bar, wishing you could help her in some way.

Compassion and decency are becoming a precious commodity in our frightened, divisive country.

fairlane said...

I too worked in the "Field." I was a counselor for 6 years working with the Mentally Ill, children and at the end Gang Members.

You're correct there is no system. It's set up to perpetuate itself, which means helping people is not in the System's best interest.

Recently I learned one of my favorite clients died here in the streets of Louisville. (Paranoid Schizophrenic). She had no family or friends and was buried by the state.

It is sad Py, but then I think there are so many things to worry about where do you even start?

We do what we can and that's the best we can do.