Perpetual state of chaos
I’ve noticed, after about ten years in the field, that mental health service delivery is in a perpetual state of chaos.
There are always sweeping changes underway with regulatory and funding issues and I have never even heard of an organization that didn’t have some level of turmoil constantly brewing with changes in senior management, if not the entire corporate structure. The agency that forms the foundation of mental health service delivery in my state has been in a state of escalating chaos apparently since its founding, 200 years ago. Every moment of peace turns out to be the eye of a new storm.
From talking with peers, I’ve gathered that one either rises above the chaos, recognizing that it will be a constant background to whatever work is being done, or that the noise and confusion become crushing. Ride the waves or drown.
I’ve thought about the career path of the social workers I know as a string of lifeboat drills. We join a new agency and fight the good fight until the situation becomes untenable and then we’re inflating our resumes and jumping over the rail. “You come into the field trying to save the world and you get out trying to save yourself.”
The puppies-and-rainbows social worker wannabes who have dewy-eyed dreams of handing Oliver another bowl of gruel never make it to the boats. I’ll end my stormy, salty observations with something John Paul Jones said that, I believe, applies to those who would take up my task: “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
More will follow.