Spring/Summer 2019 - It’s the voice that stands out first. Mellow, deep, soothing… like the confident and assuring tones of a late-night radio host. It’s a voice you’d imagine a man in Len Pierce’s position would possess. Len is a crisis worker in the Mental Health Department at MSH. One of his duties — among many — is to handle code white incidents which involve de-escalating situations where people are behaving in an aggressive or violent manner. And that’s when his voice comes in handy.
“People say, ‘Oh, you have a really nice soothing voice!’ And kids love me.” He has that East Coast lilt, a mellow cadence shared by many folks who hail from the East Coast.
Len has a master’s degree in social work, along with certificates in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and trauma therapy. He joined MSH part-time in 2004, moving to full-time in 2006. He was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, renowned for its hospitable charm. In fact, one of the things he loves about MSH is its neighbourhood community feeling.
“This is the closest I’ve found to the feeling of an East Coast hospital,” he says. Len has worked in inner-city hospitals, which he says are more of a revolving door by nature. “So it’s more rewarding to work in a hospital where you can see people get better.”
In addition to being recognized as an MSH Hero, Len is also the inaugural recipient of MSH’s Honoured to Care: Respect award for consistently demonstrating inclusiveness with everyone — patients and staff alike.
Len works in the crisis clinic where he applies such techniques as CBT, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy and trauma counselling, among others. In his role, he interacts with just about every area of MSH, conducting assessments and providing mental health support on all medical floors and clinics. He also counsels and supports hospital staff who have experienced trauma.
Sound demanding? It sure is. But Len says it’s a team effort. “We have a very supportive environment at MSH. Everyone has your back when you’re trying to help,” he says.
“It’s really quite a nice place to work. I’ve been doing this for 28 years, and still look forward to coming to work every day.”