Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's Just a Load of Shit

A few weeks ago I spent a day training for youth mental health. I was excited to learn about the subject. I wanted to learn how to help others with mental health issues. I looked forward to spending the day with my husband learning about a topic that I am passionate about.

The first thing we did when we walked into the conference room was sign-in and collect various papers, pamphlets and a book. I found a seat in the front row. I was eager to learn.

Many of those who attended held fancy titles. My husband and I were some of the few who were "just" parents. We did not have any impressive letters after our names. We were not part of a network in the community that worked closely with youth.

The premise of the program was to cover "first aid" for youth in crisis until the situation is resolved or appropriate help has been received. I realize that there is only so much that can be taught in one all day session. The meeting only touched on a basic range of information. I would have preferred that they would have spent more time on key subjects instead a watered down, hodgepodge of ideas. 

I challenged them. Do school counselors, coaches, and parents hold the level of expertise adequate to help a child in crisis? When is a band-aid not enough? At what point is it necessary to reach for a higher degree of help? Where do they go to find it? The information was lightly touched at the end of the class. By then, people had left the class or were too busy gathering their things to take notice of the information.

We were there to gain knowledge about the topic of mental help for youth. I cannot say that I learned absolutely nothing. I was not expecting to gain an epiphany, but instead of discovering a wealth of gold nuggets, all I collected was a light dusting of the treasure of which I thought I would find. I expected more. Much more.

The instructors taught us how to handle situations where someone needs help. Whenever I questioned the presenters they gave me generic answers. Life does not follow perfect step by step scenarios. I know that from experience. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to throw-up. I wanted to leave. 

I learned a lot of things that day. I learned that my experience and emotional connection to the subject dominates whatever can be taught from a textbook. I learned that it is more meaningful to listen to someone who has been through the experience speak from the heart.

I have decided that occasions like these do me more harm than good. I brought home various papers, pamphlets and a book. I will throw it all in the recycle bin because it is something that I know I will never read. In my opinion, almost everything I heard that day was just a load of shit.
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