Posts tagged work
Posts tagged work
One of the biggest areas of ignorance my first year at the Lighthouse has exposed is in mental health and the mental health care system.
I never knew that people could be arrested under a mental health warrant, if they were deemed to be a threat to themselves or to others and needed psychiatric care forced upon them. I’ve seen these ‘arrests’ lead to treatment and medication that has completely changed a person’s life so they can be a functioning member of society again. I’ve also seen attempts to get a mental health warrant rejected by a judge and then have staff and clients fear for their lives as we have to watch someone’s mental health rapidly deteriorate.
One of the first times I remember thinking, “Man, this guy is not alright,” was when a gentleman continually complained to us about his roommate, and his roommates germs. It was all well and normal until he started to tell us that their was deadly mold growing in his room and he could see the walls moving. He contacted the health department to look at his room, and they came and left, utterly perplexed as to what the guy was talking about. He continued to yell and then threaten staff saying his roommate needed to clean his room, or else. I was in the hallway coming back from going to the washroom and he stood between me and my exit, at the bottom of the flight of stairs, yelling at me and threatening me. And then he said I had molested him by not cleaning his roommate’s room or forcing the roommate to do it. (Sidenote: We don’t clean people’s suites at the Lighthouse, they are their own responsibility.)
We proceeded to get a mental health warrant against him. He was picked up, brought to the ER, assessed as being stable and functional, and returned back to our place within the day. This made us all walk on pins and needles because now he had reason to be really mad at us.
I told one of my co-worker’s later about it and kind-of laughed. This 250+ pound man saying I molested him, while the nearest we had ever gotten was 12 feet away from each other. My co-worker said this was no laughing matter and that, even as a woman, I could lose my career over allegations like that.
One of my other co-worker’s spent the next month gather new evidence. You can’t present the same case twice, so he gathered new incidences, talked to his case workers and other mental health staff. He also contacted the ER so that they would know that the client was going to arrive, that he needed treatment, no matter how he presented himself, and they determined what medical treatment they were going to provide. The client ended up staying in the local mental health hospital for 3-4 weeks, made a great recovery and completely changed his demeanor.
And that is a success story.
Tomorrow I will return to work, and again be confronted with people in desperate need of mental health care but who would not qualify for a mental health warrant. Which not only puts the staff at risk, but also leaves those who reside in our building in a complicated predicament.