Direct Line Staff began as an idea; to tell one person’s story of working in a psychiatric residential treatment facility for children.  A series of events led André Alyeska to embark on a career change.  With a desire for meaningful work and to make a living, André first brought a clueless enthusiasm to his work.  He then felt over his head, proficient and finally, wore out.

It quickly became clear, if you can handle the chaos of seeing and working with those impacted by neglect, abuse, trauma and a host of other “born with” maladies, what became hardest of all was not the clients.  It was the incredibly high rate of turnover of fellow staff coupled with supervisors and clinicians who frequently have no idea how to manage the people who spend the most time with the children in our care.

Like so many of our systems, mental health care is a hierarchical system.  Those who work directly with clients often have little training and infrequent supervision.  There are no professional organizations for caregivers and we seldom have time to debrief or support one another because we are always. on. the. floor.

So, this endeavor gives voice to one perspective; that of the direct line caregiver.

Your host and facilitator places the emphasis on support and advocacy.  This can be anything from acknowledgement of our role in the healthcare system to pursuing a living wage to creating training for those who are not clinicians, but have the desire and aptitude to make and call this service to others a career.

No names, please.

This and the associated groups are not forums to complain about our workplaces.  We are looking to generate proactive conversations that can lead to caregivers who are better informed, better supported and healthy.

To morph HIPAA a little bit, it’s not just about protecting client privacy, but also fellow Staff (even managers) and the facilities we work at, ie: no names, please.  Be general about the specifics of our environment, but specific when problem solving and seeking solutions.

Thank you, and welcome!

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