Mental Health can be a dangerous job

by Angela Brooks


Mental Illness does not discriminate. It is not just for the homeless. It affects the middle class and rich. Clothes and status cannot hide the disease, the battle inside is tamed when it is acknowledged.

Working on units of people that are unpredictable makes walking down the hallway a risk each time you travel. With today’s mental health there are so many added issues of self medicating with drugs and alcohol to tame the beast that is rumbling on the inside. The mania that swings open the doors of the eyes and the thunder that roars from the person can be dangerous not just in the hospital but on the outside in the community.

Our society is full of unmediated individuals who are walking free in the world and have never been diagnosis. As a nurse the symptoms are not hard to spot – the hyper activity – the wide eyes – the bouncing ideas from one grandiose event to another – big spending – and many more. As a health care worker you know what I am talking about.

In the 23 years that I have worked in a state funded hospital where we see a wide variety of clients, mostly un-insuranced, admissions from jails, homeless, but that is not all. We have taken care of doctor’s wife’s, governors children, nurses, teachers, lawyers. Money does not prevent mental illness and money does not hide it any better than someone who has come in off the streets.  

As staff we are on alert for the events to happen in the blink of an eye to move in as a team to provide safety for both the attacked and the attacker. There are times that even though everyone is observing someone can still get hurt in the process of acting out person. In 23 years I can think of 3-4 nurses/staff whom have been removed from the hospital on a stretcher. One unconscious others luckily were just bruised and banged up.

I ask this question on facebook:  Mental Health can be a dangerous job and below are the many response that I received.

* Scars to prove it but wouldn’t do any other kind of nursing!

* Hi Angela, My son girl friend has mental issues and beat me up last month. So my heart goes out to all the nurses in the world.. God Bless Them All

* Many, many times. I have bruises on a weekly basis from being hit, pinched, kicked…..I’m an ICU nurse in a large teaching hospital. It’s mental health nursing about 50-75% of the time. I’ve come to believe that mainstreaming the mentally ill was a very bad idea. These people are suffering and going without treatment. Their quality of life is awful and they’re a danger to others.

I can’t wait to graduate college and become a mental health nurse!

* I have an internal left ear injury from a state Alzheimer’s patient. Of course, comp denies. Now I am in a prison hospital, so much less compassion for their mental patients in the wrong system because of funding. Much less ‘hand to hand’ physical in this environment, but very difficult environmental energetic in this setting.

* I actually got my scrub top ripped off me not too long ago and when I was a PA. I had a patient throw one of those metal trash cans at me – and I have plenty more stories like that!

* I have the x-rays from a broken elbow in 2 places from one that was trying to kill my charge nurse. Happened over 10 years ago and my arm still give me trouble.

* I’m not a nurse, but I have many stories over the past 28 years in mental health. It was a dangerous job. Everyone should receive hazard pay. Be careful friends.

* I got hurt…. I was a PA.

* My mother got hurt several times, and I think that it caused her Parkinson’s disease caused by trauma to the back of her head.

* 20+ years.. More than 1 less than 5:)

* I love Mental Health work! Totally

* Not to mention patient aides, houskeeping,dietary…etc..

* I remember a few years back getting two black eyes for Christmas

Because of stories just like these The Nurses Voice was brought to life – stories of what the clients have  taught many of us and how many still loved the job. Will you share this post on your wall using the buttons below.

Angela was voted 110th Leading Moms in Business , she is the author of “The Nurses Voice” she is also Silver Director for her achievement of being the first Young Living Distributor to build a solid Silver 2nd level Team Performance and over 20,000 in volume without using the phone. She is setting a model of how to build relationships online, through social media, blogging and email. Check out her website at

Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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