What we face in behavioral health organizations and need to make time to confront.
I have been on a listening tour. One that allows me to focus on my senses and take it all in. The good stuff, the bad, and in-between stuff. A self-assessment and needs analysis.
Being covered and having covering for your emotional, physical, and spiritual self matters. Security is not a notion. Being secure. Feeling secure. This is a human need. We were designed to need and require this. We embody the need to seek shelter and we provide it for others.
I am reminded of hearing my daughter sing a song “they want me to be a helper, but I am not ready for that. I don’t want to do it.” This original musical verse gave me pause. Because how often have we stepped into spaces and roles and ‘they want you to be a helper and you have no capacity. Life shames those of us who realize that we have no capacity for the various needs around us.
This shelter. This burnout. There is a relationship. And we must fix this. People need more than what is being offered.
When people do not feel secure. When barriers are not removed. When they are not heard. When they don’t have the figurative and literal shelters and still expected to be shelter-help for others, burnout is set aflame.
And this fire grows. It triggers hidden or obvious systems. It brings up and out levels of inadequacy. It disengages us and makes us mistrust shelters and safe spaces offered.
But here is the beautiful part of grace. There are those of us that are bridge builders, we see the lack and serve as guides.
This is what the best implementation of therapy services provides its customers, its clients. Shelter.
And now this self-assessment of life that COVID-19 has brought the therapist and its organizations, is now asking “what will you provide now?” What will we offer the therapist on the journey who brings their passion-tired soul to work to give. It is not found in staff lounges, trips, and social media posts about how much the organization cares.
Organizations must find their spines. They must have leaders who do not abuse structural systems for friends and provide provisional safety to a few appointed people.
Shelters are designed to stand up.
Shelters are designed to have an open door for those that need and want to be there. Shelters do not discriminate, people do. And if organizations are nouns, then the problem is people. Leadership.
Shelters are made of different materials. And the Three Little Pigs searched until they found brick. There were lessons from the sticks and hay. But people want security. And it’s not about how funded or financially backed the organization is, people, want true spined leadership. And COVID has allowed us to reimagine our sense of smell.
And everyone from the top down can feel what happens when shelter is not upright and firm. What does it feel and look like?
Lies. Made up stories. Gatekeeping. Holding of resumes for the next CEOs when YOU know they shouldn’t lead ducks across the street (let that marinate and say ouch). Marginalizing others. Withholding information. Appointing people because you know one another. Caring about black people on social media and less than 15% are in the top tier and deserve to be so. Using one person to check three boxes in the name of diversity.
People realize when organizations are not standing upright. And they also recognize the kind of shelter they are receiving. And when the shelter is guised in flat-footed diversity outfits, that is the big bad wolf.
Landria Seals Green
Founder of LSG Consultants and The Huddle