Community Based Mental Health - OT Student
Miriam Soots - Occupational Therapy Student
University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, Indiana
(9/27/05) During the summer of 2004, I had the privilege of completing my first Level II fieldwork assignment at Way Station, Inc. Way Station is a community-based mental health facility that serves people with severe and persistent mental illness. Prior to beginning fieldwork at Way Station, I was scared of working in a mental health facility. My only understanding of mental illness was what I had seen on television or in movies. This perception led me to believe that my fieldwork experience would be dangerous, scary, and even life-threatening. However, I soon found out that working in a mental health setting is none of those things. Instead, it is interesting, fun, and challenging.
At Way Station, I was able to be very independent and creative in my approach to therapy. Much of my time was spent helping clients develop basic life skills so that they could live happier and more productive lives. Most of the interventions I provided were done on a one-on-one basis; however, I was also able to lead several groups. The types of interventions I implemented varied from complex dance groups to simple grocery shopping tasks. The freedom to implement creative interventions is one reason why I enjoy working in the practice area of mental health.
Working in a mental health setting has helped me to learn basic occupational therapy skills, but it has also helped me to find my passion. I now know that assisting people with mental illness to live lives that are full of purpose and meaning is the goal of my life. What was once my worst nightmare is now my dream come true.