Social Worker

I mentioned in my last post that I’d going to seek mental health care this week. I went yesterday to the Arcadia Mental Health clinic run by LA County.

I suppose first impressions aren’t the best. The building is brand new from what all the employees told me (perhaps that’s why it took me about a week to be able to even make an appointment). I arrived and had to go through some construction work. Before even making it to the front desk, there was a line to head through a metal detector, complete with two security guards. I can understand why they have them, but that didn’t make it any more comfortable for me. The front desk lady wasn’t particularly nice. I’ll explain why all of this later.

Anyway, I was told to bring proof of income, social security card, state-issued ID, and my Medi-Cal card and to be there between 8:00 and 8:30 (not a great window, really, especially have to fight some early morning commuter traffic). I had to see a financial counselor first, who assured me that Medi-Cal would indeed be paying for the treatment. That took an hour wait. After that, it took about 15 minutes to see a Social Worker for the evaluation to see if they could/would be able to help.

The evaluation took about an hour and half, maybe a little bit longer where I told gave him the answers to the questions and talked a little bit about what I was experience. Truthfully, I don’t think he was too concerned, as apparently I’m so not-crazy compared to the people they normally see (which is why metal detector and rather cold staff). Anyway, I have an appointment next week again to do a check-in on the homework I have: reading and doing meditations 11x a day (which feels overly excessive even he said so: then why have me do it? *sigh*). Anyway, probably not the best first impressions, but still, it gives me a place to start and some counseling. Perhaps because I’m feeling mostly normal this week I gave answers to how I’m feeling at the moment?

Conclusion: it went better than I thought it would, though I will not be seeing a psychologist as I expected, but rather a social worked and we’ll see how that turns out. If nothing else, I have confirmation about the anxiety that I’ve been dealing with. I’ll keep you all updated. It’s going to be a rough journey, but today I’m feeling pretty good and hopeful.

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9 thoughts on “Social Worker

  1. One reason I’ll comment on your journey is that I have quite a bit of experience with the mental health system, both through my profession as well as personally. You’re right that some of these facilities are used to dealing with people who are schizophrenic, hallucinating, etc. They can develop a hard shell, especially the front desk personnel who haven’t had extensive training in human relations. The main difference between a social worker and a psychologist (and even a marriage and family counselor) is usually one of subtle perspective. The psychologist’s perspective leans slightly more toward your intra-psychic processing (personal thoughts and feelings). The MFC leans slightly more toward your family systems (including your parents and childhood). The social worker leans slightly more toward seeing you within all of your social systems, including family, community, culture, etc. Even though you may be feeling better one week, don’t hesitate to make it clear how bad you were feeling the previous week, so they get a clear picture. But I’m glad you’re feeling better! You got through the red tape and it’s a start!

  2. Arcadia Mental Health is a good place, and it is in a brand new building. My sister is a LCSW, licensed psychiatric social worker there and has been for the last 10 years. The people she treats have varying degrees of issues, and some are extremely serious, so naturally the employees need to be protected. I am proud of her because even though I know of the job she does, she keeps everything completely confidential; even though I am her sister she is discreet about her clients. All I know is that she helps many people, and it is a stressful job, as well as sad sometimes. So the therapists as well as the clients need a lot of credit for facing the many ailments associated with our stressful world. Hang in there…help is forthcoming I am sure.

  3. I was with Long Beach Mental Health for 20 years, as a patient. I was an OCgirl and moved to LB. My first visit there was a woman with 12″ nails (no lie) that looked like snakes on her fingertips. I was terrified. I was told it takes a few weeks to get help. I got lucky and got in sooner. I also got a SW from heaven. She changed my life, with my efforts of course. Mental healing takes so long with meds you don’t know are effective until weeks later. Hang on tightly. There is a light weather you see it or not. Best to you and your journey!

  4. I was with Long Beach Mental Health for 20 years, as a patient. I was an OCgirl and moved to LB. My first visit there was a woman with 12″ nails (no lie) that looked like snakes on her fingertips. I was terrified. I was told it takes a few weeks to get help. I got lucky and got in sooner. I also got a SW from heaven. She changed my life, with my efforts of course. Mental healing takes so long with meds you don’t know are effective until weeks later. Hang on tightly. There is a light whether you see it or not. Best to you and your journey!

  5. Give it a shot. Future sessions will be better. Community mental health is a mixed bag, all right.

    Good for you for going!

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