I don’t think of myself as someone who is easily angered. In my capacity as a mental health provider, I have been called every name in the book, spat at and nearly assaulted. Although these experiences are never pleasant, I can intellectualize away my feelings about patients’ hostile behavior: this is just a part of their illness. While I have certainly felt frustrated after a long night on call, I ...

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“You don’t have any idea what you’re dealing with, do you?” asked Mr. Johnson a mere two minutes into my interview. The scene is the Crisis Intervention Unit. The time is 3:00am. I have a feeling my breath is terrible. The hospital pizza I engulfed earlier in the evening has decided to stage a churning acidic protest in my guts. However, far worse than my half-closed eyes, my halitosis or my ...

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One Saturday morning at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, I got out of a call room bed and realized I had done it. The year everyone dreads, the year everyone says, “you just need to get through” was finally over. I had completed my write-ups on all the patients I admitted overnight. My emergency room consultation requests had been seen. I checked my pager for missed pages: ...

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Like my fellow Connecticut residents still shaken by the Newtown shootings, I was excited and relieved when Connecticut Senate Bill 1160 (“An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety”) passed. The law establishes a dangerous weapons offenders registry and requires a universal background check for all gun purchases. Those wishing to purchase long guns will need an eligibility certificate which requires fingerprints, a firearms safety training course and a ...

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As I walk onto any one of the locked psychiatric units at our hospital I am immediately struck by the hum of intense activity. It’s like the startling feeling of stepping out of an air-conditioned apartment into the steamy height of a New Haven summer. Across from the nurses’ station, a psychologist interviews a patient retelling the story of constant childhood molestation as rivulets of mascara run down her cheeks. ...

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