Why I Work at DSH: Public Forensic Mental Health Forum (subtitled)

Why I Work at DSH: Public Forensic Mental Health Forum (subtitled)


I’ve actually been working for DSH for
over 15 years now which surprises me because I didn’t intend to stay that
long. I came out to California from the East Coast in 2005, to do a forensic
fellowship at UC Davis and part of our rotations were a day a week at Napa and
I just fell in love. When I first came out to California I was doing an
internship for Department of Developmental Services at Porterville
and I had been kind of bragging to everyone, I’m from New Hampshire, that
moving out to California. When I finished my fellowship I took a staff psychiatry
job at Napa and I’ve been with DSH ever since. I worked at DSH for ten
years and I came to DSH from University I was a director of Health and
Counseling at a large college. I had some friends who were working up at Napa and
had gone up to visit them and just seeing the area was so beautiful so
amazing up at Napa and I just knew that’s where I wanted to be. I’m a Music
Therapist and I was just really excited that they were gonna pay me to do music
therapy full-time in California. I worked for DSH for 12 years I originally
started at one of our psychiatric facilities in Vacaville that is now part
of Department of Corrections but then transitioned up to Sacramento
headquarters to continue the research projects that I work on. I joined the
department in 2015. Since coming to the Department of State hospitals, I had no
idea how passionate I would become about the treatment of individuals with
serious mental illness. Being a part of a interdisciplinary team where it wasn’t
just me as a music therapist but also working with psychiatry and psychology
and social work really creating this dynamic team environment was something
that definitely kept me there. One of the reasons why I keep doing what I’m doing
is because I’m surrounded by people who are passionate, passionate to really help
improve our patients, and it’s something that I’ve never had in a workplace
before. And so to have supervisors who are passionate about what they do and
support me and my passions is something I feel really lucky to have. I don’t
really believe that everybody wakes up one day and say I want to be mentally
ill and have a really difficult time with life. I think that we all need help
and I feel like I have a responsibility to try to help with that. It came because
I wanted to be part of an organization where the mission and the vision were
really to help patients and not so much to serve other administrative ends and
I’ve stayed here because of the people I’ve met and the work I’ve been able to
do and all the hard-working clinicians throughout the state who keep
improvement going. When I had that opportunity to meet the patients and to
hear their stories and have them show me the pictures of their family members, you
realize that mental illness impacts individuals just like me and you. When I
got here and I started working, I just loved it so much. I mean this is
such an underserved population and I feel very fortunate to be able to do the
work that I do. The Department of State Hospitals offers an opportunity to work
with some of the most challenging, complex issues that face our society in
terms of the treatment of serious mental illness, and if you’re the kind of person
that welcomes that sort of challenge in a dynamic environment, then this is the
opportunity for you. When you realize the the impact that mental illness has on
these individuals and their lives and their families lives it’s hard not to be
passionate.

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