Page 8 - Work Force October 2021
P. 8

Mental health worker helps save patient’s life
 SYRACUSE — Melinda Bowens,
a mental health therapy aide at Hutchings Psychiatric Center who was hired in March 2021, has already started making a difference at her workplace, recently saving a patient’s life.
While she is a new employee at Hutchings, Bowens is an experienced health care worker. She previously worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in
Utica for 22 years before getting
laid off during
the COVID-19
pandemic in 2020.
Never having been without
a job before, Bowens applied
to just about everywhere she could think, but it was Hutchings that called back first.
Still living in
New Hartford, she
gladly commutes 100 miles round- trip daily to her job that she calls a blessing.
Saving a patient’s life
In Hutchings’ linen room, Bowens was approached by a patient who was acting irritably. He asked her for two pillows. She agreed to give him the pillows, but said she had to put the pillowcases on first.
After the patient left, a nurse suggested she go check in on him.
“I went to his room,” Bowens said.
“The door was shut and the lights were off and he was sitting with the vinyl part of the pillowcase over his head.”
Not knowing how long the patient had been suffocating himself under the pillowcase, she pleaded with him to stop and called out for help. When a nurse arrived, she and Bowens worked together to physically remove the pillowcase.
“It was traumatic for me,” Bowens said. “I’ve worked
in health care where [I had] worked with the deceased, but actually catching someone trying
to take their own life and someone dying of sickness is totally different.”
Because of her health care background,
Bowens said she has been able to cope with the situation a little more easily than other people may do. She hopes that each day is getting a little better for the patient.
“I know mental health is not easy; it’s stigmatized,” Bowens said. "Now that I came into this job, I truly understand that some people can’t help what they’re going through and it’s our job to help them through it.”
While Bowens doesn’t want any credit for her actions, her story is just one of many CSEA members
Melinda Bowens is shown outside of Hutchings Psychiatric Center, where she is a mental health therapy aide.
 8 The Work Force
October 2021
“I know mental
health is not easy; it’s stigmatized. Until I came into this job here, now I truly understand that some people can’t help what they’re going through and it’s our job to help them through it.”
have experienced while working
at mental health facilities and just another reason why keeping public mental health services funded is so vital to communities across the state.
Keep our mental health services funded
CSEA Hutchings Psychiatric Center Local President Tina Mara said a number of employees are working 16-hour shifts five days a week and that many departments are
short-staffed — an issue she suspects is the case across many facilities across the state. Many employees are feeling the strain of understaffing.
“I’m super proud of what Melinda did,” Mara said. “It’s not every day we get to recognize an employee
for doing their job. I wish I could recognize all of our employees because I feel like they all need to be recognized. They work hard.”
— Nicholas Newcomb
Important Election Information
The term of office for current Private Sector Local officers will expire on June 30, 2022. Elections for office must be conducted and completed before the new term begins on July 1, 2022.
A letter was sent by the Statewide Election Committee (SEC) on September 14 to each Private Sector Local President (or, where applicable, the CSEA administrators) requesting each Executive Board to select 1) a Chairperson and Election
Committee or 2) an Election Meeting Chair (for Locals with 150 members or less), prior to Oct. 15, 2021. An Election Data Form (EDF) was also enclosed to be completed and returned to CSEA Headquarters.
Please refer to the September letter for procedural requirements. You may contact the SEC at 1-800- 342-4146, ext. 1447 or sec@cseainc. org, if you, as a Private Sector Local President or Administrator, did not receive this important letter.
   This Week
I n A l b a n y email alerts
 The quickest and easiest way to stay up-to-date on what is happening in Albany and Washington is “This Week in Albany.”
Sign up for “This Week in Albany” email alerts at

   6   7   8   9   10