Talking With Psychiatric Patients

Words By The Mentally Ill

Psychiatric patients are very unique individuals from many different walks of life. There is no such thing as a typical patient. Patients cannot be standardized and identified based on appearance or behavior. Even if it were so, the unpredictability of psychiatric patients would make them outliers in as little as a few hours.

A psychiatric patient is not always someone who “was crazy ever since I can remember.” Many patients previously held impressive jobs and were functioning members of society. They were able to attend work, pay the bills, raise a family and even treat patients themselves!

Each patient has a unique story somewhere within them; you just have to access it beneath the many layers of psychopathology. What makes it difficult in talking with psychiatric patients is their unpredictability in behavior and speech. Sometimes they shower you down with words, while other times, you feel like you are talking to a brick wall.

Just because it might be difficult to talk to them, does not mean that you should get discouraged and lose hope. Many family members also struggle to talk with patients who are their relatives. Imagine how difficult it is for a mother to see her son institutionalized and refusing to eat or drink water?

Family members suffer the most; wouldn’t you if that were your son, daughter, father or mother? But we cannot give up on them. We are all in this together in helping psychiatric patients reach a functional level that is appropriate for living a safe and healthy life in society.

Always keep in mind that psychiatric patients may be difficult to talk to; expect it. And don’t get angry with them. It’s so easy to become frustrated after they consistently pull your hair out, but remind yourself that they are mentally ill human beings who are not in their right state of mind!

Don’t make their life harder than it has to be. Treat them with respect and care.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)


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