Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Letters

Magazine article Behavioral Healthcare Executive

Letters

Article excerpt

Article shines light on field's stigma

In the October issue, Drs. Lori Ashcraft and William A. Anthony note that one in four behavioral healthcare staff members likely has a mental illness (the same rate as the general population), a fact that the field often does not acknowledge. This statistic came as no surprise to me.

After struggling for years as an adult behavioral health clinician with attention deficit disorder and the subsequent depressive episodes related to it, I finally "came out" about it to my supervisor in a behavioral health setting. I requested a few minor accommodations in our open-space work environment, such as privacy panels around my desk to cut down on distractions while working on paperwork. Rather than supporting me, she openly expressed disbelief, discounted a psychiatrist's report/diagnosis, and took her opinions to management levels. The atmosphere became so uncomfortable for me that I ended up leaving the behavioral health field altogether. I was afraid my diagnosis would follow me into a new position and I would get the same negative reaction.

I no longer work direcdy in the behavioral health field, but I remain guarded about my diagnosis. I make "covert accommodations" so that my deficiencies aren't readily detectable. I feel that my personal experiences enhance my clinical skills. However, I cannot risk working in the mental health field again because of the trauma I experienced. It is a very sad commentary on behavioral health professionals. Thank you for highlighting the problem.

Rebecca Cichetti, MA, NCC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Keep in mind quality-of-life issues

After reading Philip L. Herschman's response (October issue, page 8) to Doug Tieman's article "In support of abstinence" (July issue, page 45), I couldn't help but respond. I have been actively involved in the addiction treatment field since 1980 and support an abstinence approach to addiction treatment.

Any way that you slice or dice it, methadone maintenance is considered part of the harm reduction model. The main goal is not abstinence but rather substitution of a legal narcotic for an illegal one to reduce the negative consequences of addiction on our society. This still leaves the client/patient dependent on a highly addictive narcotic in order to function on a daily basis. …

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