Saturday, December 10, 2005

"We are quick to provide solutions but not keen to listen to their voices."

Today is International Human Rights Day. This year, WHO focuses on the rights of the mentally ill. From WHO's website: A psychiatrist's view.
"'Across countries and cultures, I am amazed by the resilience of people who have mental disorders. [They are] Living with illnesses that are difficult to understand and which affect the very core of our sense of self; battling on a daily basis to live ordinary lives like you and me; trying to live a normal life in a society that will not try to understand their reality and views them with fear and suspicion.'

'I am saddened when I hear and see how mental health services fail to understand the simple desire to work and live a normal life in the community with friends and family. It is highly disappointing to see many mental health services do not perceive their primary role as facilitating the fulfillment of this desire.'

'We (the professionals) frequently fail to understand their need to be in control of their lives and their bodies, just like any of us would want to. We are quick to prescribe solutions but not keen to listen to their voices. We frequently refuse to acknowledge their identity – I hate it when people say so and so is a schizophrenic – as if the illness is their identity.'

'You might wonder why I continue to remain in this profession. Because I also have some memories that I cherish a lot. Seeing the smile and the excitement on the face of a person standing in the checkout queue at the supermarket. For the first time. Someone who had spent the greater part of their adult life in a mental asylum but was now living in their own home. I am proud to have been part of a mental health service that made this smile possible.'

'Mental illness affects people like you and me. Its time we realized this is about us, not about them.'

-- Soumitra Pathare, Psychiatrist, Pune, India. Via WHO, via Liz Ditz, via Pax Nortona.


Blogger Kim said...

That's the whole shebang right there; the entire reason we have mental health care.

People laugh when I say I liked my patients when I worked as a psych nurse.
They wondered how I always "got along" with the psych patients in ER.

It wasn't that I was so very theraputic, it was because I see people with mental health issues as, well, people! And that is how I treat them, with dignity and respect, the same as I treat every other patient.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

You just got added to my blog visiting list....:)

Thank you. I have a good relation with my psychiatrist and my therapist, both of whom are important for my recovery. I follow the program of medications that my psychiatrist has laid out for me meticulously (I made the mistake of deviating ~once~) and remember that she saved my life.

Sometimes, she suggests boundaries that are a little too tight for me to live within regarding my social behavior. On these matters, I give her opinions weight but also check with others whose opinions have weight. Then ~I~ make the decision. Now and then, she proves to be right and now and then she's wrong, but that's OK. We're a pair of scientists, each with a different observation point on my condition. We trade the data and do the best we can.

6:43 PM  

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