Name: Josh Goldstein
Type of Project: Internship
Throughout my STEP Signature Project, I lived in Columbus, OH for the summer of 2017 while working at North Central Mental Health Services. I served as a Residential Care Worker, working in a group home and assisting mental health clients with their daily routines.
By working at NCMHS, I confirmed that I will be pursuing a career in mental health. My time studying Psychology at Ohio State led me to believe that this was the case, but working in the field has solidified my decision. Gaining hands-on experience at a mental health agency helped me realize how fulfilling helping people in need can be. While the work can be frustrating from time to time, the personal rewards make any temporary difficulties well worthwhile.
My time at NCMHS also reaffirmed my belief that people in need of assistance deserve access to the resources that allow them to reach their full potential. Specifically referring to the clients that I have worked with, having a mental illness did not prevent them from acquiring new skills and working towards gaining their independence. My clients required various levels of assistance with different tasks, but they all made progress towards effectively managing their mental condition and living a sustainably healthy lifestyle. I believe that, as a society, we need to continue to improve access to resources for those that are not yet capable of independently reaching their potential. Doing this will not only improve the lives of those in need of assistance, but also benefit society as these individuals become equipped to contribute to their communities.
One of the key aspects of my STEP Signature Project was the relationships that I built with my clients. After working in a group home with 11 clients, I had many opportunities to get to know each of them. It was very enjoyable to learn about who they all are and the things that they hope to accomplish at NCMHS. I found it very rewarding to see the progress that my clients made while I was working with them. Many of them became more proficient and independent in completing their chores, preparing food, and communicating effectively. Some of the clients expressed their gratitude for my help, and their thanks remains to be one of the highlights of my time at NCMHS. Most importantly, working with my clients instilled in me the belief that anyone can progress towards a goal, despite whatever obstacles they confront. Even with their mental illnesses, all of my clients worked towards accomplishing their goals. Watching this process unfold was pivotal in the strengthening of my belief that those who need assistance deserve access to the resources that allow them to reach their full potential.
Another aspect of my project was the relationships that I formed with my coworkers. Since the group home is double-staffed 24 hours a day, I had many opportunities to meet and work with new people. Some of my coworkers have been working in mental health for multiple decades, so their guidance was very valuable. Throughout my training, my coworkers provided me with the necessary information to maintain the group home and effectively interact with the clients. When questions came up throughout the summer, my coworkers were willing to help me sort things out. Having such a vast support network at NCMHS reaffirmed my belief that strong teamwork is necessary in any successful organization. Even though our relationships were very professional, I feel as though I made many friends while working at NCMHS. The time that I spent working with each of my coworkers was both enjoyable and informative.
The skills that I gained while working at NCMHS were also a key aspect of my STEP Signature Project. For example, I learned how to pass and log clients’ medication. This skill will be beneficial in a wide variety of healthcare-related settings. I also learned how to complete many forms of documentation. While working at a mental health agency, it is important to record many pieces of information while on the job. The activities that clients take part in, when clients leave the facility, the chores that clients and staff complete, and much more must be recorded. As a result of learning how to complete this documentation, I feel as though my organization skills improved tremendously. My communication skills also greatly improved throughout my time at NCMHS. After working with coworkers and clients who all have different communication styles, I have learned to understand others and express myself in various ways. I believe that these skills will be transferable to many work settings, and will serve me throughout the rest of my career.
This transformation is valuable for my life because it further motivates me to pursue my goal of becoming a Mental Health Counselor. While the work that I was doing this summer was very different than counseling, I believe that my experience working with mental health clients was very educational and will be applicable to my future work. The organization and communication skills that I improved while working at NCMHS will make me a much better counselor as well. As I apply to Counseling Masters Programs this fall, I can be very confident that I am making an educated career decision based on my passions and values. My time at NCMHS has also motivated me to apply what I have learned to my studies, and further pursue academic excellence throughout the rest of my Undergraduate education. This will be possible since I have hands-on experience to relate to the material that I will cover in my Psychology courses. I am excited to work towards my goal of becoming a Mental Health Counselor, and I look forward to seeing the ways that everything I learned at NCMHS helps me achieve that goal.