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The Mental Health Group Home
Years ago I worked at a mental health group home. I worked with twenty one mental health patients. Originally, I was hired as a cook. I planned the menu, shopping list and cooked all the meals and snacks. It was fun because I liked cooking. What I didn't like was cleaning up after. Eventually they had one of the residents helping me clean up all the dishes. He was from Vietnam and didn't speak English and understood very little English. He would often smile and shake his head in disapproval on what a huge mess I would make.
Everyone who lived there loved my cooking. I am not sure who cooked before but obviously my cooking was a great improvement. They were short staffed so they added some more duties to my job. I then started crisis counseling and handing out the medication to the individuals. Although, I didn't find out how dangerous my job was because I didn't know of the individual's backgrounds or the nature of their mental illness. I did find out later that one of the individuals was criminally insane, he might have murdered someone. Another one was a pedophile and wasn't allowed to go out at certain times, such as when the school nearby was let out. Most of the others were schizophrenic and manic depressants. Nevertheless, I was left alone in the evening with no other staff, just me and these people.
The management seemed to be mishandling the money, because the food was low and the patients were running out of cigarettes. Most of them only like to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. One thing I learned is that you never take cigarettes away from crazy people. Lucky for them that I smoked and I shared some of my cigarettes. Because of the lack of proper management the finances were low. Being young and dumb I ended up lending my manager one thousand dollars from my Visa. I think she was gambling the individual's monthly money. She did go to the casino often so it was a fair assumption. I stayed working there a bit longer even though it seemed somewhat corrupt.
I noticed that the residents were becoming restless and complained a lot about the management. Since, I used to run a home daycare before this job; I had some ideas to incorporate. I started Bingo night for anyone who wanted to play. Just about everyone played. The prizes were left over desserts and cigarettes. It was actually a lot of fun. The next evening I said was movie night in which they also enjoyed. Then singing night, followed by crafts night. All the residents loved me.
For some reason my boss and I had a disagreement about when that thousand dollars was to be paid back. We should have written it down. She did end up paying me back which was good, but eventually I was down to one shift a week on the schedule. This was her way of getting rid of me. Well, I did just quit and I heard from another worker that three of the residents went on a hunger strike because they wanted me back. I thought this was so cute. They didn't get me to come back or call me or anything. Eventually the home got closed down from the government and I never saw anyone again from the home that was close to my heart.