Short Term 12 is an amazingly emotion, almost traumatizing, film. It focuses on Grace who works at a living facility for "difficult" kids, most of whom have lived through trauma. Grace, meanwhile, has struggles and a past of her own, which makes her both the perfect manager and an emotional wreck.
In many organizations that work with the mentally ill, social workers are required to be in therapy themselves throughout the course of their occupation. Of course, there are many organizations that can't pay for that, and many who work with the most needy in our society, who dwell in the third world of our "developed" nation, who live with the castaways of our crippled nation have to just suck up and figure things out on their own.
That's why I watch movies.
As someone who works with the homeless, I strive to be Mason, the good guy, but at my shoulder is Grace, who is threatened with being completely overwhelmed by the need and the emotional output required to live and to work. While living in Grace's shoes, I'm allowed to cry for Jordyn and Markus and for Grace herself. I can wonder how she survives day to day. I can weep for Vera Drake and demand justice with Malcolm X and be brazenly bold with Lawrence of Arabia in a way that I can't in real life. In real life I have to remain strong, be stoic, be the shoulder others can cry on.
But identifying with Grace's struggle can be my strength.