Community Mental Health

 

(More about the geezer above shortly!)

My doctorate was finished and then it was time to decide on a future direction. Again my intuitive personality took charge. I’d had enough of academia and wanted to go exploring. Of course I could do it in a university but I wanted to get out into the world.

And just at that moment the community mental health movement was opening. There was a deep division between state mental hospital systems and private or local helping systems. It sounded interesting to focus on the community.

Coming to Baltimore

The door that opened first was to a program in the inner city of Baltimore. I was met at the airport by Carl, a community organizer who knew his city well and I got a grand tour. It was endlessly fascinating and suggested challenge. My interview with the asian man who was the director of the program went well. We meshed viewpoints. I was also interviewed by the head of psychology who fell asleep almost at once. I sat quietly until he woke up and thanked him for a truly interesting interview.

Carl and the director had me and I signed up.

Truth Is Revealed

On the day I arrived to begin work I was taken to my office in what seemed like an empty suite. I was told I could begin to see patients. How that was to happen escaped me entirely. So I wandered around and found a black woman social worker by the name of Roz. We hit it off and she took me out to the streets to begin my work by visiting reality.

The Bottom line

This was the impoverished inner city of Baltimore and the education was immediate.

Shortly we had a young multiracial staff working to focus our efforts. While there was a general overview, it was apparent that local matters required a focus. Each community was different and there was one challenge after another. 

Reality

We learned quickly that the biggest challenge to mental health was poverty. In retrospect the operational word was DUH! Our efforts became often focused on job issues and fortunately there had been foresight in that each center had a vocational rehabilitation counselor. As a psychologist I was often involved in doing assessments.

It is obvious now but what we found was that having no job or a poorly paying one caused depression and anxiety. Not that there weren’t personal issues as outlined in a previous post but getting someone trained or educated with a decent job had huge “mental health” benefits.

Other Challenges

Nothing was simple. We didn’t simply counsel people. We had to face multitudes of issues personal and organizational. It was often necessary to be careful about referral to services  because we had to know what the services really were. What the brochure  said often didn’t reflect reality. And if the person was truly “mentally ill” we had to consider what the state hospital system really offered.

Another Bottom Line

But let me get to the deepest disappointment. Our young staff was committed and fighting for our people on the streets. Shortly we learned that the other big challenge was that the leadership in the university and the state systems had a whole different set of values. Winning a community mental health program and the funding was a feather in their cap. And they wanted to apply the funding to existing programs. Conflict was inevitable and some staff was not sent to work with us but were diverted to existing positions. 

It was clear that there was not a total commitment like the young staff had. What I learned in my twenties was the problem with older white men. Decades later I find the problem to be systemic and I have no more sympathy for their positions now than I did in my twenties. 

I find much of what they do self centered, representing entrenched interests and a narrow focus. And now we have a fight to wage to bring women to power, and to address ethnic and racial interests. Now that I am an older white man my commitment has not changed from very many years ago. In time we saw entrenched power bring an end to the vision of community mental health. Such a loss of a movement with terrific potential.

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 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1   (Click to See)

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

The Tragic Loss of Conservatism

 Coming Soon

Gaia’s Majesty-Transformation: Life Forces Revealed

(Book 3 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

The child of prophesy is coming of age.

Earth has descended into almost biblical chaos.

        Then comes an opening to a future never anticipated.

######

The Tragic Loss of Conservatism

It Is a Loss

I recall a time past when there were proud people of substantial values who held forth with the values of constructive conservatism. Yes, I used the word constructive. These were people to be admired because they contributed to stability, depth of commitment and the productive exchange of ideas in a world facing inevitable change.

In Opposition

The family I grew up in was firmly Republican. Late in the evening of the election of 1952 we sat up and cheered at the election of our hero Dwight Eisenhower. He had led us through the ruinous war against Naziism. His value of our country was firm and he stood before us in triumph and vision. He was the person who brought us the interstate highway system among other benefits.

Through it all he stood firmly for traditional values and against reckless change. As such he was a hero and benefactor.

My World Changed

In time my experiences in my life led me to embrace other viewpoints. My family was privileged and we toured the world beginning shortly after the end of World War II. It was breathtaking. I found myself over time seeking novelty and diversity. My brother went to Princeton and I went to the University of Michigan. It was time to head out further into our country. From there I went to North Carolina which was emerging from its racist and revolutionary past. Just one hundred years after the Civil War. It was a stunning lesson. From there I went to work in inner city poverty in Baltimore. Nothing could remain the same and I had to examine values and the future. I brought the experience of each corner with me. I never lost my rich past but turned to support progressive positions.

Two Definitions of Conservatism

Now let me turn to the world of conservatism. I found two definitions.

Commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation.

The holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

Who can be opposed to supporting traditional values in most instances. Exceptions are found of course as in the case of when racism is a traditional value in the culture. But generally stability is something to support. And in the second definition it is obvious that we support free enterprise and private ownership. It is when we come to socially conservative ideas that we may run into conflict.

In Progressive Ideology

In general, at least for me the issue is not in the ideology. It is a matter of how we take it forward and whether it is ill planned and ill considered. On the streets in the sixties and its time of revolution there were many things worthy of advancement. Among them was racial equality and the advent of the empowerment of women.

There were times when I found myself working against the radicals in the “progressive” mix. Change was clearly essential, but not necessarily revolution.

What Was to Come

It is not a clear and simple world out there. We fought our battles decade after decade and it was challenging. Change brought stunning openings of possibilities along with undesirable revelations. In the next post I’ll dig a little deeper into what I saw and where it has led us.

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Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1  (Click to See) 

Avery’s life of dedication is enhanced when she meets the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was ordained.

      Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2   (Click to See)

The Tethyan people of the sea have been joined by the Andromeda warrior women. They fight for the future of humankind. Then will come the Child of Prophesy.

Available now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.

A Collage of Reality

Are we really jugglers when it comes to reality?

       

A Mutable Reality

In fact, the mutable nature of reality as we see it is not strictly related to ourselves. It also relates to what is happening in the world around us. Concerning ourselves with reality is not just a personal phenomenon. Certainly we have to keep oriented in a world filled with stimuli. Maintaining a reality relates to things personal, social and environmental. We have to relate to all the different facets of our lives.

There is the matter of what we experience moment to moment but also phenomena  and relationships throughout our life which, in itself, is a developmental process. And where we are going may be very different from where we think we are going.

Accepting Ongoing Adaptation

There was a time when vocational life was pretty much stable over our lifetime. A man would take up farming and that would be his life. A man would go to work for a company and retire from it. That is no longer the case. We cannot predict what our vocational future may be and cannot be sure of the duration of our relationships. All of those factors mean there must be many periods of adaptation.

Looking at our modern lives in that way shows why we must have an enduring belief in a stable reality. It is simply not feasible to consider all the possible variables at one given moment. It is really a tribute to our adaptability that we can maintain what we call sanity through all the changes and different stimuli. Finding enduring truth is difficult and  keeping tabs on reality is a challenge.

The Larger Context

But, in the end, we have to move beyond personal considerations because there is an inevitable social context and we also keep an eye on the future of our species. In those contexts it is important for us to not simply watch developments among segments of people and political struggles. These things can confine our perceptions.

And it is the larger matters which concern me. In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I concern myself with the portrayal of what might be and how it might occur. It is not just a focus on stewardship and the wellbeing of the world. Certainly those are considerations, but within those issues lie the very real issue of how women will be seen and how they will participate. Again and again I come back to the belief that we are at a tipping point and the single most important issue to which we must attend is what is happening with women and where it will lead us.

Do you have a larger focus?

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Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge