For the Rest of Your Life

It was 1 AM and I was working late, typing up an incident report in the office two hours after I should have gone home. The unit had been in chaos that evening: clients in and out of holds, running out doors, refusing to go to bed.

A thought occurred to me, and I turned to my teammate and said, “It’s a shame this job doesn’t pay better because I could do this…”

I trailed off looking for the right words. He found them first: “For the rest of your life? I know what you mean, man.”

We didn’t stay, of course. We couldn’t. We eventually left for greener pastures.  The emotional fortitude to do this line of work exists in many people. But it must be nurtured, rewarded, and treated as an asset in order for it to grow. And when it does, so too will the quality of care in treatment facilities.


From the Floor is an irregular feature of short poignant interactions, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. These are the conversations, this is what we witness when working in mental health. If you would like to contribute email: andre.alyeska@gmail.com.

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