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What Working at a Salon Taught Me About Mental Health

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Sirens shout through the alley of the hospital downtown. Was it another overdose? Or a heart attack? From the window of the children’s psychiatric ward, I was unable to see past the flashing lights. “Code green.

ER code green. ER,” plays over the loudspeaker. This marked my third week in the psychiatric unit; a place where children under 18 came during crisis.

It is not filled with padded rooms, screams or straitjackets. It is filled with children who have seen the worst sides of society, children with schizophrenia unable to attend school, children who have attempted suicide and children who have psychotic disorders who can be violent.

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