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“Mental Health/Mental Retardation Advisory Board honors staff members”

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This brief article dated February 10, 2012, and found on The Times Leader website is one that recognizes some members of the Luzerne county and Wyoming county Mental Health /Mental Retardation staff for their years of service.

I would like to not only congratulate those who received the awards in this article, but I would also like to take a moment to thank the countless others who dedicate their time and energy to helping people in both the mental health and intellectual disability communities.  I’m including everyone from janitorial up to the CEO and everyone in between.  I know case managers often are on the front lines so to speak, and often times are overwhelmed by huge caseload, yet they often do their jobs, offering encouragement, hope, support, and guidance to their clients without much in the way of a thank you for all they do.

A now former case manager of mine went above and beyond to help me with a situation.  She made a huge effort to try to help me with a court related issue that the timing was such that I had actually been discharged about a week prior to the court hearing.  She could have easily said, ‘sorry you’re not on my caseload so you’re on your own’  instead, she made phone calls, and advocated on my behalf during the week after my discharge.

Another time, I was having a really bad day, and the receptionist who is someone who has worked in the local mental health system for many years and had worked in group homes before becoming a receptionist.  Saw I was pretty much on the verge of having a melt down, and she came from behind her desk to the half-door I was signing in at and she gently touched my arm and asked if there was anyone she could call to help me out.  That simple act of kindness and gentle physical contact was a huge thing for me in terms of helping me through that particular situation.

These are just two examples of situations I have come across myself, and I could list off more, if I wanted to.  These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, there are countless others who do this sort of thing every day and receive no thanks for their efforts.  If you know someone who works in the mental health field whether they be a Receptionist, Peer Specialist, Therapist, Counselor, Case Manager, Supervisor, Psychiatrist, Nurse, Janitor or maintenance staff, IT professionals, and even those who volunteer their time to help folks with mental illnesses, let them know their work is important and that without them, people like me wouldn’t have a remote chance at any degree of recovery.

A huge thank you to everyone who works directly or indirectly to improve the lives of folks who struggle with mental health issues and/or intellectual disabilities, not only here in Pennsylvania, but around the world.

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