We all long for a place where we can feel safe, a place where we can call ‘our own’. But unfortunately, for those who are experiencing mental illness, the impact of stigma can be to the point where there isn’t a safe place to call ‘home’ anymore.
One week into the placement, and I feel like I’ve been here for much longer. The people are amazing- smart, friendly, lively, unique. And they all experience a mental illness. But you know what, you honestly would not even know just by looking at them. They’re a bunch of wonderful people. From the first minute we walked into the door, they welcomed us OT students with open arms and warm friendly smiles. They were not afraid that we were entering their ‘space’ but rather allowed us to be a part of their home. These people are so easy to get along with and so easy to talk to! I cannot even begin to describe the feeling and the atmosphere in this place. Sometimes, I even think that these people are much easier to get along with than the other people I regularly encounter. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t laugh my head off at something someone has said. And it’s so funny because we keep joking that in 6 weeks time, we’ll walk out of there as crib experts, and whenever I play crib next time, I will always remember this placement and the wonderful people who taught me. The beauty of it is, is that even though we’re there to collaborate with them and work with them, they’re also working with us to further our clinical skills. How enriching!