I’m feeling stuck and very unsupported in my job. Not sure what to do.

I'm a BSW-level case manager in community mental health. I've been with my agency for just over a month and I hate to say it, but the agency falls into a lot of the stereotypes of community mental health. Under staffed. Under paid. The agency itself is very large and ranges from an upscale private-insurance only therapy office, to in school services, and my unit where we are on a first name basis with police and paramedics.

We are supposed to be a 24/7 facility, however due to staff shortages there are times when the only person on the premises is a third-party security guard. There are 70 clients ranging from high functioning and ready to live in the community, to those actively in crisis. Less than one month from my hire date I was working completely alone – not even security support.

I am fresh out of school and started technically before I was graduated and just about everything I do is a learning experience. Nobody ever taught me about bedbugs or what to do when a client completes suicide or how to get someone who is afraid of doctors proper medical attention without traumatizing them. I kind of feel like I'm leaving behind a giant mess everywhere I go, I have no idea what I'm doing a solid 75 % of the time.

I was promised that after one of my coworkers left a replacement would be hired. Well, someone high up in the agency decided we didn't have the budget for that. Nor does the budget exist to replace any of the staff that have left over the last few months. I was promised that I wouldn't be stuck working alone again, but the schedule for this weekend determined that was a lie.

I'm not really sure what to do. I enjoy working with my clients, but I don't enjoy trying to work with 9 different crisis situations at once. I'm starting grad school in May so I'm hoping to survive this agency until then, but I'm not sure what I could possibly say that would fix our staffing issues.


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