Everything Has Its Season

Sue Bergeson Health Guide
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    For the past several months, I've been unconsciously singing a song called "Corner of the Sky" from the musical Pippin. I'm not sure anyone remembers this song, but some of the lyrics read:

     

    Everything has its season;
    Everything has its time.
    Show me a reason and I'll soon show you a rhyme.
    Cats fit on the windowsill;
    Children fit in the snow.
    Why do I feel I don't fit in anywhere I go?

     

    Rivers belong where they can ramble;
    Eagles belong where they can fly.
    I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
    Got to find my corner of the sky.

     

    Every man has his daydreams;
    Every man has his goal.

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    People like the way dreams have
    Of sticking to the soul.
    Thunderclouds have their lightning;
    Nightingales have their song.
    And, don't you see, I want my life to be
    Something more than long....

     

    Rivers belong where they can ramble;
    Eagles belong where they can fly.
    I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
    Got to find my corner of the sky

     

    So many men seem destined
    To settle for something small.
    But I won't rest until I know I'll have it all.
    So don't ask where I'm going;
    Just listen when I'm gone.
    And far away you'll hear me singing
    Softly to the dawn:

     

    Rivers belong where they can ramble;
    Eagles belong where they can fly.
    I've got to be where my spirit can run free,
    Got to find my corner of the sky.

    It's funny how your heart can be working on a problem even when your head isn't fully processing it. When I finally recognized that I was humming and singing this song rather frequently-something I hadn't done for, oh, maybe 20 years-I had the answer to a question I hadn't realized I was even asking:

     

    It's time for me to move on.

     

    I've served the consumer community through DBSA for over eight years, starting as the second in charge and now as the CEO. I've seen us grow from serving over 600,000 people to over five million a year. I've seen us change from simply a brochure-and-chapter-delivery system to a robust group with over 65 recovery-oriented programs and services designed by consumers for consumers ... to help us empower ourselves and receive the hope, help and support we each need to move into full recovery.

     

    It's time for me to accept a new series of challenges ... time to chase new goals and dreams. And there is more-much more-that DBSA wants to do and is uniquely positioned to do. I'm fully confident in DBSA's interim president Peter Asheden to lead DBSA into the future.

     

    I've long been convinced that health care financing was where system change could truly take place. After all, we change our behavior because it benefits us to do so. And nothing encourages us more than financial incentives. If my insurance covers some things and not others, I'll clearly do those things my insurance covers-at least at first.

     

    What would a consumer-centered, empowering finance system look like? The answer may seem obvious. But this new system will have to impose some kinds of limits in order to survive economically, and this is a true challenge. But it's a challenge that really, really interests me.

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    I've accepted a new position as vice president of Consumer Affairs, Public Sector, with OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, previously known as United Behavorial Health, and I'll report directly to the COO. Psychotherapy Finances ranks OptumHealth as the nation's largest provider of mental health and substance use treatment services, based on the total number of people its services cover: over 43 million.

     

    I'm excited about the new challenges that lie ahead ... and deeply grateful for my time at DBSA, the largest consumer-run national mental health organization in the U.S. I've worked with the most amazing people and have learned from my peers around the country what we each need to build our recovery. My time with DBSA has been a gift beyond price, and I'm deeply greatful for all the lessons learned.

     

    I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming meetings and events, as I continue to work side-by-side with my peers to build a consumer-centered, recovery-oriented system. I just have a new corner of the sky in which to work.

     

     

Published On: September 05, 2008