“Together for Mental Health” is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, there will be a series of interviews with patients admitted to the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center to highlight voices that many times go unheard. The names used are not their own as we wish still to protect their identities.
Jason who is 27 years of age was admitted to the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center recently and has had several previous admissions.
Jason’s first admission to the Mental Health Center was highlighted by several worrying signs. He was hyper talkative, selling his clothes in his neighborhood and he was consuming a lot of alcohol, smoking marijuana and cigarettes especially on weekends on a regular basis. He expressed that his parents identified that he was having issues with his mental health and sought the assistance of the Police to have him brought to the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center. He voiced that he feels “bad” or unhappy coming to Mental Health, however his sickness is not as bad or severe when he takes his “treatment”. This highlights the importance of adherence and compliance to medication and or counselling when a person is suffering from a mental illness. Jason also said that he can identify the difference in how he feels when he takes his medication and when he does not take his medication as he identified feeling “bad” when he does not take his medication and “good” when he takes his medication as prescribed by the medical team.
He also expressed the importance of having respect for the Doctors and Nurses. The patient and the Healthcare professionals are part of the team that work towards the wellness of the patient. Mutual respect is necessary for there to be trust and respect as one’s mental illness does not define them. Having a mental illness can be a difficult journey that requires the support of others. Jason wanted the public to know that there are a few simple ways that people can help persons suffering from a mental illness: “assist when they are sick with clothes, food, good words and counselling”; “help them to stay on track”; be supportive and do not provoke persons suffering from a mental illness; and letting them have a voice when provoked to anger and not just blame it on their mental illness. He stated that “because I am a patient with a mental illness and I argue with someone they will instantly call the police and tell me I’m crazy and I am a mental health patient. People should be supportive and not provoke me as a mental health patient. Police officers can take my statement and say who is right and wrong in the argument instead of bringing me here at Mental Health Center.”
Other advice given was “Tek wey the Doctor and Nurse Say”, “Live good”, “Don’t Act up with one another”, “Eat good, Drink good” and “Respect Doctors and Nurses”.
When asked about his thoughts and feelings about his illness and journey, he said “I feel bad coming here but my sickness is not as bad when I take the treatment. Sometimes I feel lock down and uncomfortable. I show the doctor and the nurse respect. My sickness was bad but since I got treatment, I feel good.”
MSc. Clinical Psychology