A mental health test might be an occasion for some to censor their answers to certain questions. But not Sara Alexander’s friend.
My good friend, now 83, let’s call her Harriet, is moving to a new senior independent living community.
In order to be admitted she was required to take a battery of cognitive tests. Harriet is more mentally fit than most people I know, and generally quite calm, but she was anxious about these tests, even though, or maybe because, she was trained as a Marriage and Family Therapist…as was I. While she expected to pass, at the same time she fully understood that her future was at the mercy of some test-giver’s assessment.
Harriet’s examiner turned out to be a middle-aged female social worker. The mental health portion included a few dozen questions that might be found on any standard mental health assessment and about halfway through she was asked: “Do you ever feel afraid that something really terrible is about to happen, any minute now, and that there is nothing you can do about it?”
Harriet replied: “Yes, of course. All the time. I’m Jewish”.