I’m Kyle. I’m in the last semester of my Master of Social Work program (so close, yet so far!).
I joined mobile crisis because I wanted to take the skills I use when working with individual clients and families to the next level. I have certainly become more proficient, but also grown in areas I didn’t expect to. For one, my ability to tolerate and thrive in uncertainty has improved considerably. As any crisis counselor will tell you, every call is different; you never quite know what to expect when you meet a client. While this made me nervous at first, it’s forced me to become more reliant on my instincts and more courageous. I’m now more comfortable when walking into important meetings or making critical decisions in my everyday work. Secondly, when I help someone in crisis connect with resources, find safety, or just be more comfortable in the moment, I feel that I have had a direct positive impact on their life. As my work is based in macro-level community practice, there aren’t as many opportunities to feel that sense of accomplishment.
School and an internship occupy most of my daytime hours, and so I usually work nights as a crisis counselor. For those who would never consider taking shifts between midnight and 8:00 am – I get you – but it’s easier than you would expect. I have spent most of my night shifts sleeping (and making money while doing it!). Sure, I grumble a bit when I get called out in the wee hours of the morning, but there’s something unique about helping clients when the resources we can typically access during the day aren’t available.
From reminders to do self-care, to giving client advice at 2:00 am, my team has always been there for me. I have deeply appreciated my coordinator and the full-time office staff for the support they have given me since day one. Also, as we work in two person-teams, knowing I have another person who I can trust and who will help me at the worst times is critical when we see clients together. We jointly problem-solve, provide care, and generally help one another feel more secure. This collaborative style has enhanced my communication and relationship-building skills in surprising ways.
Every job has its trying moments, but I feel they are more than outweighed by the positive experiences I have had while working at mobile crisis. I encourage anyone who’s on the fence about joining the team to take a chance. I guarantee you’ll gain more than you expect.