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.

Beyond Politics to Essential Vision

 

In this seemingly endless era of pre-election scuffling I’m getting very restless.  Yes, we know the stakes in this election could not be higher given the fact that we have a pathological president and a world in growing chaos. But I would very much like someone to come forward to focus strongly on vision regarding the way ahead.

Stuck in the Mud

Recent elections have made me increasingly restless and I find myself looking back in time. I was very young when World War II ended but it quickly became clear to me that we had been through terrible decades of war and depression. Suddenly a new world was opening. Survivors of war returned home, married, started families and Eisenhower, a man of substance and vision, began to build a magnificent road system for our country. We had renewal and hope for the future. 

Before long we entered a new era of struggle with a focus on civil rights and renewal. In recent decades there have been fits and starts but currently we are failing to direct our attention to what is needed for our future. We seem to be embroiled in petty squabbles. Yes, the reasons are complex but often with a petty focus. It may well be that it is we the people who are going to have to pull us out of the mud.

It’s Not Politics!!!

If we are going to reduce America’s malaise to any one thing, I would suggest we call it corruption. We used to have a much more functional Republican Party – to put it politely. And honestly I wish Democrats would focus better on an elevating view.

Above all I want to shout “It’s Not Socialism!”. When a proposal is made, those opposed often declare the proposal is socialism. Here are just a few issues.

Health Care – I spent my adult life as part of the health care system as a psychologist. I won’t go into my long book of complaints. Rather I think the fundamental issue is that our health care system is among the poorest in “advanced” nations. Whatever advanced means. It doesn’t matter if it is physical or “mental” health, everything needs a lot of work and I’m not seeing the intensity or focus needed.

Child Care – In case people have failed to notice, children are our future. Now that our economy is more complicated, women have joined the workforce and the early years require more kinds of resources to begin our children on their way. Again, this is a complicated issue but definitely has nothing to do with “socialism”.

Infrastructure – Do I really need to go into this? From roads to the power grid we need to get to work. How can anyone declare no work is necessary or that getting the job done would take us away from democracy and basic enterprise.

Jobs – Then comes this little beauty. I was thrust into working on the job arena early in my career. With the pace of technological change the job world is changing rapidly. What we know and is being ignored because of political manipulation is the fact that people can be evaluated and retrained for a variety of jobs that are going begging. Humans are complex and do not really slot into working class and professional. That guy over there shoveling dirt may well have hidden wonderful talents. 

Enough!!

I’ll stop with those examples. There is no need to go deeper. It is not, or should not, be a matter of politics. Dismissing these issues as related to politics is putting a knife in the back of our future. It is time to focus, evaluate, study and direct our resources. Oh yes!! And its time to address the corruption which has become rampant throughout our society.

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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

The Work Universe – 3

 

An Obvious Need for Awareness

And now I have to come back to the rapidly changing global scene. Too often our focus as professionals has been limited. But now, change is rapid and the first thing we have to do is open our horizons, see how our special expertise must achieve new foci and be expanded at the same time.

Changing My Viewpoint

Most psychologists planned to do their evaluation in a clinical setting and it was thought it was about psychological conflicts and what we called “mental Illness”. Gone are the days. For one thing we have to dramatically reframe what we call mental illness. But that is another story. Let me stay with the jobs issue.

I referred people for vocational rehabilitation and the counselor referred people to me for evaluation. Once I had a focus on the client I proceeded to an interview and testing. My focus was not so much on a clinical picture, meaning not on psychopathology. I had to see how they functioned which can be truly complex and I needed to build a picture of what their ability patterns were.

Without going into extensive detail, what I did in the intelligence testing gave us direction for employment. When I was in training I at first thought that simply the level of intelligence was at issue. Not so.

What Is Intelligence?

Beats me. It is naive to assume a simple picture about intelligence can be constructed from a test. But, for now, let me just focus on the “intelligence test”.

At the time the most commonly used tests were the Wechsler tests. Each had two primary parts. The Verbal part was assumed to relate to intellectual skills as they were applied in an office setting. The Performance section was assumed to relate to what we often call working class jobs. It is a lot more complicated than that but I’ll leave it at that for now. 

Over time I learned something important. It was often assumed that if the Verbal I.Q. was lower than the Performance IQ that the person had a learning disability. I came to see something very different. If the view was turned around and the Performance IQ was higher, then we may have a view of a talent. And what I saw was that the people with high Performance scores had talents very useful in tech jobs. And that could mean office tech jobs not just what we normally call working class jobs.

A Matter for Research

As the world changes so must our focus. For coal for example we need to do more than say those jobs are going away. Suddenly we have a large group of people who need other employment. We have  essential questions to ask such as “what is the ability pattern and talents of people who work in the coal industry?” We don’t know that but I suspect there is a highly diverse set of abilities available. Many came to work in coal because their fathers worked in coal. That does not tell you the whole story of their abilities.

We need to mesh a picture of the jobs which will be needed with the talents which are available in the families of the people who will have to leave dying industries.

That means we need extensive research into the abilities of the people who must leave employment such as in the coal industry. Simultaneously we need a good picture of new jobs which are being born in the world at large. And those two pictures much be merged. At present I hear nothing about this kind of research and it is essential for our future.

New and Broader Viewpoints

When I look at Applachia I see a dying industry in a gloriously beautiful area. Many people would probably be delighted to work in those lovely valleys. And they would be suitable to tech jobs which now can be linked electronically and don’t necessarily need to involve giant corporate facilities although the facilities could be smaller and linked. Without going into greater hypothetical detail, I think you can see my point. Across the country there must be endless possibilities if we will simply attend, seek vision and do the essential research.

Back to the Inner City

After i had the evaluation data I would then sit with the counselor and we would mesh what I found with the job market and training and education possibilities. This was a small focused means to an end and brought rewards to the people of the inner city., In microcosm it hinted at a process that could serve our country and a variety of settings.

Putting An end to Corruption, Stunted Vision and Commitment

The problem our country is facing is not limited to the job and skills issues noted above.

The future is out there and it need not be dismal. Our ability and commitment to our jobs future has been stalled for political and social reasons. The future of America is being strangled by an entrenched corrupt oligarchy. If we break their hold and expand our vision such as outlined above we can change the picture dramatically. So much now depends n the next election. Little progress is being made in Congress and the courts. It is now up to we the people.

891 words

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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

The Work Universe 2

A Call to End Passivity and Obstruction  

Facing Facts

Human society is facing accelerating change and it seems we are in total denial. We are acting as if the job market and its requirements are fixed. In the United States we say we have a low unemployment rate but other data indicates 10% of our people have simply given up on the job market. We hear that coal jobs are going away and some people are saying we must save something that cannot be saved. We have to face the reality of climate change and must change how we generate energy. The lis of other demands is very long.

It should not be outside human consciousness to consider doing research and planning. That means researching how our technology of all kinds is changing and how that affects the kinds of jobs that will disappear and what new ones will be needed.The job picture is changing and we have only a limited idea of how it is changing and what jobs will be required. If the research is ongoing, we hear so little that it is almost as if it is secret. And then there is the matter of our not knowing who is available in the workforce and how we can use them. More on that shortly and it is much more complicated than ordinarily assumed.

An Unexpected Partnership 

Decades ago I took a job I thought was only focused on mental health, but it had a component I did not know existed. The job was in the inner city of Baltimore and the people there were largely impoverished. I learned that each of our centers had a vocational rehabilitation counselor. And since I was the only psychologist who actually worked out in the community, they called upon me to do evaluations on the people needing assistance.

Vocational Rehabilitation was a generic term because many of these people had never had meaningful gainful employment. We learned at once that the biggest enemy of mental health was poverty. It generated anxiety and depression. We had a lot to learn-and fast.

What was needed was an evaluation and construction of a plan for each person. I became a collaborator with the counselor. We shared our expertise and developed plans.

The Process

I had been trained to do testing and evaluation but it was generally focused for clinical (mental health) purposes. I screened for brain damage, got a conflict and personality picture and gave an intelligence test. I had used it previously for mental health purposes. Now It was folded into working on job issues.

Along with the counselor, I had to focus on the jobs market and the skill sets or lack thereof of the people who were coming to us for help. I sat down with the counselor and we talked about his view of the client and he gave me a view of the job availability climate. That, in itself was challenging. We had to get an expanded picture because jobs in the inner city were limited. A whole new set of problems were opening before me.

The Bottom Line

I had taken a job that I thought would revolutionize the delivery of mental health service. What I had found was a whole new world where it was clear the focus had to be on a larger world. And, even more importantly, the professionals involved had to expand their horizons, and fast. We are still waiting.

560 words

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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

The Future of Jobs

 

Setting Priorities

Nationally we seem to have a wrestling match about how much to commit to what. If we speak about investing in infrastructure or health care there is an accusation of socialism. In fact we have been putting off facing something that should be inevitable and investing for the people of our country.

Focus on One Issue

Of special interest to me is the issue of jobs as we move faster and faster into a changing  future. I learned a great deal many decades ago and am deeply concerned about how we are not serving our most vulnerable people. And that issue is the changing jobs picture.

An Unexpected Job Function

When I went to work in Baltimore’s inner city as a psychologist I thought that I was to deliver mental health services. I wasn’t alone in being naive. As I’ve said before, poverty is the biggest enemy of mental health as it fuels anxiety and depression. In each of our service centers there was a vocational rehabilitation counselor and they were thrilled to learn they had a psychologist on staff who could evaluate the skills of people for whom they were seeking new employment or even some employment at last.

Many of these people were women who had no previous job experience as they struggled alone at home to feed and guide their children. What I saw was eye opening. Of course when they came for service I would interview them and when jobs were needed I would do a further evaluation to aid their counselor.

We Missed it

At a broader level there soon was even greater concern. To be blunt, when we began to see things like the decline of the coal industry and the ramping up of technology we should have begun research. It is commonly assumed that coal miners could only dig coal. Not true. There are wide varieties of talents available in all job markets and it is just a matter of identifying jobs which need filling and then studying the skill sets in the population at large.

One of the things that I came to see violated what I had been taught about intelligence testing. The most common test was divided into two parts of Verbal and Performance. Verbal is what we ordinarily assume such as vocabulary and related skills. Performance had a broader range and was less well understood. 

Discrepancies

Generally it is expected that the Verbal and Performance were expected to fall at a similar level. But when the Verbal fell lower it was viewed as a learning disability. I learned that turning it around was more revealing. Seeing it as a higher Performance level often revealed a special talent which was useful in technology type jobs. The type of jobs which would become available.

A View to the Future

For decades I worked with vocation rehabilitation people and gained a significant perspective. At least twenty years ago, when we began to see coming changes, we should have focused and begun research. We did nothing useful. The left behinds are a special focus. The ones losing jobs when they are in their 50s and 60s will be hard to serve but we can do a great deal for the younger ones and not just serve them but serve our society. 

I’ll leave it there for now. It gets complex and lengthy but I think I’ve conveyed the fundamental idea. Things are not as hopeless as they seem and there can be a much brighter future for many who see no light down their road. But we have to begin to focus on that light now.

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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

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

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