An Insider's perspective on Mental Health, what works, what doesn't
In the United States alone, 57.7 million people age 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable Mental Illness ranging from Schizophrenia to Clinical Depression. This number rises every year. The high number of mentally disabled workers rise as well. Mental Health workers include Psychiatrists, Psychologist, Therapist, Counselors, and Social Workers. Although every one who works with mentally disabled patients are not qualified to deal with the behaviors they can encounter daily. Secretaries, Receptionists and even the Housekeeping crew should be taught how to handle situations in a professional yet caring manner. The job opportunities have doubled in the past 5 years. The Law of Supply and Demand. The amount of care that each individual receives varies. In most cases newly diagnosed illnesses are treated aggressively until the patient is stabilized. This is a critical time and needs to treated as though.
Give your patient one minute of Social Interaction
Do's and Don'ts of Mental Health Providers
People who seek help from Mental Health Providers expect and should expect respect. Respect is foremost Important. After being diagnosed, often your patient is in denial. They don't fully understand what is going on and feel as though they are viewed as "crazy". Everyone from the Receptionist to the Doctor should respect these patients, not only as required by Law but because feeling inferior to Doctors or those who know about your condition is intimidating. Don't laugh, whisper, or talk about your patients amongst yourself. Mentally ill patients can hear. Don't make them feel worse about their situation than they already do. Always promote a positive attitude and never give in to arguing with the one's who are late for appointments, or miss them altogether. Humans not only Mentally Ill humans have car trouble, traffic, a sick child, or just forget. It doesn't mean they don't want to get well or stay stabilized, they're still human.
Trust your patient. Mentally Ill individuals are sometimes feel as though they are guinea pigs. Trust what your patient tells you about the problems with their meds. Most medications prescribed have severe side effects and sometimes they don't take them as directed for that reason. Try to encourage them to take their meds or prescribed something that will help ease the side effects. Walking around with the jitters, dry mouth, nausea, and the lovely taste of metal in their mouth is enough reason to quit.
Listen. Make time. Doctors are guilty of running their offices like a production line. If a patient has good insurance, their sessions are longer. If the patient has Medicaid or Medicare, the visits are limited to 13 minutes. Thirteen minutes to look over the folder to see who are talking to and what you prescribed, ask them the general "how are you" question write prescriptions, probably changing something as well and bidding them a good bye. Thirteen minutes once a month. I am sure you are very well appreciated. Spend just 1 minute talking to your patient about something that has nothing to do with why they are there. It creates Human contact and they feel more comfortable knowing you share the same interest in a book, movie, etc. Make that minute count, it will make a huge difference to your patient.
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