Putting A Lid On Happiness

Excuse my language, but I’d like to give this state a big Fuck You! I just found out today that I’ll be laid off from my job and that my last day of work will be December 28th. The reason being that the state is cutting funding for the program in half, actually a little more than half, so over half of the employees in our program are getting laid off. This means that the remaining employees will have double the work and not be able to give the children the services that they really need. On top of that, chances are the program will get no funding at all next school year.

This pisses me off so much. It would be different if this program was a failure, but it’s not. It’s a huge success! We’re currently seeing over 400 students with anxiety, depression, or behavioral problems and nearly all of them have been success stories. And the kids love the program. It hurt to see the woman who developed the program have to give us this news today. She has a heart of gold and I know it must crush her to hear this news.

Meanwhile, while the children are suffering with trauma related disorders from Katrina and other serious psychiatric problems, the government of Louisiana is spending money on ridiculous things like cars for hundreds of state employees that don’t really need them. We give cars to over 330 state employees while other states give them to as little as 8 employees. Our program needs $800,000 to fund the program for the rest of the year. That’s nothing when it comes to government spending and I think that it’s sick that they’re not willing to spend that money to continue to better the lives of children who are in need of psychiatric services and can’t get them elsewhere. But the fact is they will not spend it and unless a miracle happens and someone gives the money to our program, that’s it. What is wrong with this state???

There is NOWHERE for people to go who need counseling. Nowhere! I know because I looked for a job for 5 months in mental health and couldn’t find one. Especially for children. This was the perfect job and I’m going to miss it so much. The kids were wonderful, my peers were wonderful, my licensure supervision was free and my supervisor was wonderful, and I was doing what I loved to do! I’m not going to be able to find this anywhere else in Louisiana because this was all that was left for these kids. And now this is being taken away. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am. Not even so much for myself. I’ll find another job…I’ll go do something, but what about the kids…

32 Responses

  1. Geez, didn’t you just get that job a few months ago? I am really sorry to hear about your job loss, and the loss of a much needed program. It’s just a shame.

  2. Stephanie, Yeah, I got the job 2 months ago so I’m still kind of in that honeymoon stage of loving the job which makes it even harder to leave it. There are others though that have been there since the beginning of the program 2 years ago and are raising families. I feel even more for those people. Right at Christmas time too…

  3. I’m so sorry Chris, both for you personally and for all those who will miss out on the needed services. You know I work in the same field, and it frustrates me that the funding we have doesn’t pay for near enough people to get the help they need. It obviously is much worse there and I’m so sorry. I can certainly feel frustration for the kids, but obviously the more personal distress is for you personally as I know how much this job means to you. Hopefully people can get the word out and make the government rethink their priorities soon.

  4. Thanks Carl, We’re all fighting as hard as we can and petitioning and doing what we can to keep the program alive. The chances of success are slim, but it at least feels good to continue to get the word out there about how much help the city needs when it comes to the mental health care of it’s citizens. Like I said, I’ll find another job somewhere, but there’s only so many places that these kids can turn to. It’s really ashame. We were providing services to over 400 kids!! 400 kids that couldn’t get services anywhere else! I keep hoping that the city will open their eyes, keep thinking that it has to get better, it can’t get any worse, but it does. God, I sound like such a pessimist right now, lol…but there’s not a whole lot to be optimistic about.

  5. That really sucks. It’s such a horrible feeling, knowing that people need help and knowing that there’s no where they can get it. What gets me is how horribly short sighted this is – they’re setting themselves up for a generation of discontented, disturbed people who will be forced into finding their own ways of dealing with it, and only a handful of those will cope well.
    So sorry.

  6. oh no! I can’t believe they are letting you (and others) go!! Not a good sign of the times, that’s for sure. The way things are anymore, it doesn’t really surprise me. Anything that helps the American people (young or old) gets booted..

    It won’t help trying to find a new job in the middle of winter for you… nice of them to see the year out (yeahright).

    Better be careful spending now.. I know, bad time of the year to say that.. but everyone will understand.

    sorry this all had to happen baby boy.

  7. Chris, I just don’t know how to say how truly sorry I am. I am at a complete and utter loss for words. I’m sitting here with tears running down my face. That always happens when I hear about injustices in this world. And that’s definitely what this is…a horrible injustice to these kids! Even on a purely practical basis, this just makes NO sense to me! How can they not see that if they fail to help these kids now, they’re setting themselves up for more problems and a lot more expense later?

    And I sorry for you as well, Chris. It was always so evident how much you loved this job…I just can’t believe you have to say goodbye to it so soon. Heart-breaking how the state is going to prevent you from providing so much help to kids who really need it, just to save, what in the big picture is a few bucks.

  8. This is so upsetting. The world has very odd priorities, Chris. I am so sorry. I’ll say a prayer about it. Who knows? -C

  9. Stormfilled, That’s the scary thing. The whole reason this program exists is that these kids don’t know how to handle stress or anger, etc. So what does the state do? Add more stress by taking their counselors away…now they have to deal with that on their own. I just hope I’ve helped them enough to deal with that. It’s just such a mess down here.

    Deslily, It really seems that way, doesn’t it…anything that helps gets the boot and meanwhile, the government forks tons and tons of money into programs that have no benefit to us. $800,000 is nothing to the government. That’s all it would take to support our program. It’s not like they pay us much! There’s nothing out there right now job-wise. I don’t know what I’m going to do…I’ll find something though. Luckily I’m finished my Christmas shopping, so that’s taken care of already. I knew there was a reason I was rushing to get that done! Thanks Pat, I’ll make it through.

    Debi, You’re too sweet. What you feel is how all of us feel in the agency. It’s heartbreaking to hear that this program is getting shut down, not so much for us, but for the kids. It’s just such a shame that the government is doing this to the kids. I get more and more angry the more I think about it. It’s been proven to be a successful program! The kids who have completed it have done a complete 180. Why shut it down to save $800,000?? What’s that to the government? A couple of dinners for the president? God it pisses me off. Hopefully a miracle comes through and the funding comes from somewhere. That’s what we’re all hoping for!

    Carole, I’m saying my prayers too! I appreciate yours πŸ™‚ The world’s priorities are definitely odd sometimes. It really makes you wonder what’s going on in the heads of some of these people…I’d love to know how they make the decision of what programs stay and which ones go.

  10. Oh man. I am SO sorry. And not just for you. You are strong and smart, and I KNOW you will be able to find another job. But all those kids….it breaks my heart. Having to go through the devastation of Katrina had to be horrible enough. But now, not to be able to seek the counseling that will help them through it?? Just terrible.

    Damn….and I was in such a good mood this morning. I’m sending big hugs your way.

  11. I’m so sorry to hear this news, Chris. But it makes me mad as hell, too! The priorities in this country are so skewed, with the focus being on protecting the big corporations. There’s so much damage being done to the systems that support our poor, our mentally ill, our young people, and our health! It makes me very angry! But I’m sorry about your new job, too. You have such a lot to GIVE to the young people you work with…it’s a terrible shame for them to lose you. Keep fighting! Keep your spirits up. And keep us posted!

  12. Stephanie, I’m sorry to ruin your good mood 😦 I feel for the kids more than anything too. I can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen with them. I have a few in particular that really need the help and I don’t know how else they can get the services they need. It’s just not here in New Orleans…if you can’t afford private pay therapy, you’re pretty much screwed here. It sucks.

    Robin, I’m mad as hell too! And of course, I’ll keep fighting. I know that you can relate to this problem seeing as you work in the school system. So many of these kids come from backgrounds that can’t afford private therapy and while many states have programs that offer free mental health therapy to kids, we don’t since Katrina. Sure, they can meet with a psychiatrist and be put on meds, but they don’t get counseling. These kids need the help NOW while they’re young. If they don’t get it now, it can get real ugly once they hit that 16 to 18 year old age range.

  13. Chris –

    There are no two ways about it. That sucks. I’ll add my prayers to the list, especially for those kids.


  14. CJ, Thanks..it does suck, and your prayers are greatly appreciated. I’ll get through it!

  15. wow…I’m so sorry to hear this, Chris 😦 Both for you and for all those kids who need help and won’t be getting it from now on. I have no doubt that, like you said, you will find a new job, but it’s still unfair that you will lose a perfect job in which you were doing so well for such an absurd reason. I’m really sorry *big hugs*

  16. Thanks Nymeth. It’s definitely an absurd reason and we’re going to fight it as much as we all can. The kids don’t have much of a voice in this, so we’ll try to be that voice for them. I could find a job working with adults down here, but that’s not where my heart is. My heart is with the kids and this is one of the only programs in Louisiana for them. If anything, I’ll have a little more reading time for a little while…try to find something positive πŸ˜‰

  17. Hi Chris – Just coming out of lurking to say sorry about the news! That does suck. What a nice present from them right? Geez.
    I was laid off two months ago. Our company was doing so well but yet the powers that be decided to sell us off. I’ll never understand the corporate world.
    Anyway, It’s especially hard in your case when it sounds like it was a program that was actually useful and important to a community.

  18. What a bunch of Scrooges to do that to you at this time of year! So sorry to hear that, Chris. That sucks for all of you.

  19. I’m so sorry to hear this! It’s just so frustrating and sad!

  20. Bookgirl’s Nightstand, Hey, nice to see you out of lurking πŸ™‚ I’m sorry to hear that your were laid off too 😦 This is my first experience with that and it’s just horrible. The more it sinks in, the more it just blows my mind…I keep trying to find the logic in it all, but it’s just not there.

    Other Chris, They really couldn’t have picked a better time of year, huh? Luckily, I’ve done almost all of my Christmas shopping, so I’m safe on that front. But it does still put a damper on the holidays. I certainly didn’t plan on spending them looking for a job. But we do what we have to do, right?

    Tanabata, It’s extremely frustrating. I’m dreading breaking the news to the kids on Monday…that’s going to be a rough one!

    Thanks everyone for the support and sympathy! I’ll try to come up with a more cheerful post tomorrow so I don’t have the big “F- you” sitting on top of the blog!

  21. I’m so very sorry to hear this, Chris, but not surprised. TPTB never seem to spend the money on what’s worthwhile, they’d rather waste it on cars or weapons or whatever. It’s a disgrace.

  22. Cath, That’s the sad thing. I wasn’t surprised either. When the “emergency meeting” was called it was the first thing that popped in my head. If you work for a government funded counseling program, you have to be expecting this all the time, unfortunately. Horrible, but true…

  23. You are damn right to feel pissed off. This is unfair to the staff and the children. If they are cutting funding — where is the money going to? If there anyone from the media taking note of this? Someone should be answering questions to who approves these funding cuts.

  24. shit, chris. that is utterly disgusting.


    especially considering that A) they’re giving cars to people instead of funding your program and B) your state, more than most, really needs this program!

    way to show where one’s priorities lie…

  25. Well, Chris – let me chime in with everyone else and say that is a shame. Literally shameful. You are right to be angry! I’ve been gone for a couple weeks, tying up final projects, etc. for class, and I was so looking forward to catching up on all my blog buddies. This wasn’t what I had in mind! I hope that funding will be found to keep your valuable work going. I’m so sorry!

  26. Dark Orpheus, I’d like to know where the money is going too! I can guarantee you it’s going somewhere that’s far less pressing than the mental health of our children. It’ll probably pay for a governor’s ball…We’re trying our hardest to get the media to cover this, but no real luck so far. Since the local media isn’t showing much attention, we’re going to the national media. The state of mental health care in New Orleans has been all over the national news, so hopefully we can get a little attention…hopefully.

    JP, Who knows where the hell their priorities lie? They’re not in the right place, I can tell you that much! It’s definitely disgusting though…today was rough, I had to tell the principal of the school I was leaving. It’s gonna suck!

    Darla, I was wondering where you were! I was starting to get worried about you. I’m sorry you had to come back to this. I’m hoping that funding somehow comes through for the program. I love this job so much, and the kids benefit from it so much! I’ll keep you updated.

  27. You’ve got my dander up, too, Chris! It just amazes me which programs the government deems as important. Can’t they see that if they don’t help children with their problems those problems will likely grow and cause larger problems for them as adults and for society. Let’s be prepared to fork over much, much more money for prisons and mental hospitals later on, while they drive their fancy cars now.

  28. Booklogged, I couldn’t have said it better myself. 20-30 years from now, these kids are going to be the same kids that will be running the country. Why not focus on them. Give them a chance now, so that our future and theirs is a little brighter? Here it is a week later and I’m still just as baffled if not more so than when I heard the news. It just doesn’t make sense!

  29. Thanks for your concern, Chris! I kept meaning to get back, but it was so crazy busy between Thanksgiving, final papers, projects, presentations, etc. Please do keep us posted about the funding, and also your career! That is so incredibly frustrating. 😦

  30. Oh no! It’s so sad when money needed to help kids is taken away, and for what? More military crap, usually. I’m so sorry about this; you must be immensely frustrated and discouraged. Hopefully you can find elsewhere to use your talents to help people.

  31. OH my God, Chris. I am SO sorry….for you and for your students. This is a travesty.

    I hope that something gives so they can pull back those positions.

    This is terrible news, and I’m sorry I’m coming in so late on it.

    Keep us posted.

  32. Dewey, it is indeed incredibly frustrating. And you’re right…the money is probably going to more and more military crap while the kids here in the US suffer…It’s just sad. I’ll keep fighting for them!

    Colleen, I keep having this glimmer of hope too that maybe funding will come in somehow and they’ll rehire all the people they had to lay off. It was just such an incredible program for the children and I really couldn’t have asked for a better job. But leave it to the government of Louisiana to knock funding out for a program that works…I just don’t get it…

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