December 23, 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, we’re recognizing and giving thanks to several of our Mental Health Support Professional Float staff members – Christy Harper, Ann Niebuhr, and Colleen Schmidt – for their hard work and dedication. Christy, Ann and Colleen play a vital role across our integrated treatment teams, supporting a variety of our 24/7 crisis and residential mental health programs and services at People Incorporated.
Christy, Ann and Colleen, discuss what they enjoy about being part of the float staff team at People Incorporated. They also share what inspired them to work in the mental health field and how they practice work-life balance.
Learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness by joining our team dedicated to providing whole-health services within a rehabilitative and therapeutic model of care.
Why do you work in mental health? I work in mental health because helping others is my passion. I believe that all people want to feel significant and belong. Through person-centered care, genuine rapport, and compassion, I try to achieve this with my clients.
Jobs: Case Manager and Mental Health Professional Float
Personal details: In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, zip-lining, the theater, and spending time with my three sons.
Work/life balance: Nature is my Zen – I love to hike, paddleboard, snowshoe, etc. – which keeps me balanced between work and play.
What I like about being a Mental Health Support Professional Float staff member: I love the variety of work I get to do. In addition, the change of environments and working with different clients inspire me.
Why do you work in mental health? My oldest sister was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was in high school. At the time, I was deciding between a couple of careers. Because of her personal experience, I dedicated my career to studying mental health.
Jobs: I am a case manager during the daytime for a non-profit insurance company. Before that, I worked in crisis with the county. I also volunteer on a board development committee, and my mom also volunteers on a legislative board with NAMI.
Work-life balance: I’m a certified yoga teacher, so I try to keep healthy by keeping a regular exercise schedule, eating a healthy diet, and practicing mindfulness.
What I like about being a Mental Health Support Professional Float staff member: I like the flexibility of the float pool because weekends work best for my schedule. I also like practicing other skills during my float shift that I don’t get the opportunity to practice as often – such as groups, 1:1, face-to-face, and helping those in crisis. I do not get as much client contact as I would like in my daytime job, and being part of People Incorporated’s float staff team gives me a chance to connect with clients in person and hear their stories.
Why do you work in mental health? I was a teen/young adult when I lost my first of three uncles to suicide. I decided back then that I never wanted to see anyone in pain ever again. So my passion has been to “do what I can, in the moment I can” to make a difference. Now, it has been almost 20 years on this track, and I wouldn’t dare leave this field of work.
Jobs: During the week, my full-time role is as a Child Protection Investigator, and historically, I’ve worked as a Child Protection Ongoing Case Management Social Worker. At the most difficult moments, I meet families and work with them to find self-driven solutions for their child(ren)’s safety. I am one of many individual(s) at People Incorporated lucky enough to work in more than one dynamic and complex role.
Personal details: I have five children, from as young as age four to 21. I adopted my middle child in 2017-2018, and I’ll emphasize family first – even if it seems impossible. I’m a sanctioned bowler in a co-ed league, and I try to spend more time laughing and less time worrying about anything in this short life.
Work/life balance: I must take a vacation a minimum of two times per year, including one family trip and one adult trip. More vacations are recommended and attempted (but two is the minimum). I spend time with family and friends while enjoying views at the lake and time spent around campfires.
What I like about being a Mental Health Support Professional Float staff member: I like having the option to work across many different program types, service offerings, and working within the vast continuum of care People Incorporated has to offer. I appreciate the flexibility of the role (not like I need it). Mostly, I like witnessing clients’ journeys from crisis through residential treatment programs to when they return with a renewed sense of life into a community-based living setting (whether supported or not). It is incredible to watch the restoration of hope along the way.