When people ask me why, now nearing thirty, I want to switch from working in psychology to working in something like computer science, there are often a plethora of reasons that come to mind. Tonight though, the big one is that I doubt that if I worked in CS, I would come home and sob for nearly an hour. And if I did, I highly doubt that it would be over something so heavy, or that I would still feel as bad after my cry as I did at the start.
But as it happens, I did not choose to work in Computer Science, I chose to work in mental health. And sometimes, I really hate it.
Truth be told, that’s not entirely accurate. Part of me really loves the work I do, or at least some parts of it. The problem is that other part that gets louder every day, the part that cannot ignore the facts anymore that we are not doing anything to help the people on our floor. Put aside the fact that nearly everyone in the building makes more money than us, put aside the fact that the people of “authority” spend less that five minutes with each patient a day, and do not even pretend to actually care about them most of the time, and so much more put aside and you still have it there, spitting in your face: the health care system in this country is setting mental health consumers up for failure.
I work on an inpatient unit that is geared toward recovery and transitioning long term patients back into the community. I’m too focused on patient care to actually do the research and come up with the exact number, but I can tell you that it’s something like 9/10 patients that come back. Based on that level of recidivism, how is our unit still funded? And better yet, why has nothing been done about the fact that it’s clearly not doing what it’s supposed to? Well, I have my theories, but that’s for another time. With only a B.S., I’m pretty stuck for where I can work and actually pay my bills right now. But in my current situation, I’m not sure what’s more broken, the U.S. mental health care system, or my heart tonight.