Career Story: Coordinator Of Day Programs For The Mentally Ill

Coordinator Of Day Programs For The Mentally Ill

Job Title: Day Program Coordinator

Type of Company: A non-profit human services residential program.

Education: high school diploma

Previous Experience: I worked for two years in a nursing home before shifting into non-profit human services. I have worked for the same company for the last five years and was promoted to day program coordinator about two years ago.

Job Tasks: I work with people who are mentally ill and who live in a group home. They come to my day program five days a week.

At the day program we run groups that help the patrons with their social skills and help to integrate them into the community. We work with them to develop short-term and long-term goals and to build the skills they'll need to achieve their goals. Due to the severity of some of the illnesses my clients face, it is necessary for me to continually redirect them and ask them to "re-focus" on the topic at hand. Occasionally you get a client who can't be redirected (or "de-escalated") and in some cases our staff have to call the local crisis team to help them out. It's our mission to try and keep the clients out of the hospital whenever possible.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The part of the job I like best is knowing that I'm helping people and making a difference in their lives. It also always makes me feel good when I am able to accomplish all of the tasks I intended to complete in a day. Thanks to the mental instability of some of our clients, it can be difficult some days to complete the work that you had planned to get done. The clients and their safety are always the most important things on our "To Do" list.

Job Tips: Almost all of the agencies in the Boston area that provide the same services are requiring applicants to have a bachelor's degree. The higher positions are often looking for a Master's.

You have to prepare yourself for the possibility that the client will not become as successful or as independent as you hoped.

Don't give up, though, because the satisfaction you derive from seeing one person get ahead cancels out the bad feelings caused by 10 or more other who didn't make it.

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