It's a newly "recognized" population seeking mental health and medical services in today's world. The statistics say it all when over 11.7% of the military are currently reacclimating themselves into everyday society with post traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental illnesses. Their families also affected need mental health support as well. Other types of illnesses such as cancer patients, recovering victims of abuse, violent crimes and automobile accidents are all suffering from mental illnesses as well and are suddenly finding themselves "admitting to their mental illnesses" despite the negative stigma that mental illness has always entertained. Trusting in the belief that the medical and mental health workers are professional and educated concerning mental illness - the vast number of patients in this dilemma are hoping they don't regret being so candid concerning their diagnoses.

With so many people realizing the causes of their daily troubles to be centered around their brain and how it is or isn't working correctly - isn't it time for the medical and mental health professions to learn how to deal with these people in a professional, dignified manner? Isn't it time that their mental illness be recognized as well as the symptoms that might escalate upon injury, loss, accidents, additional truamas and crises that happen to people on a daily basis? The answer to both questions is clearly a resounding, "yes!" and the time is now for improvement.

Imagine this true story happening within your practice or associated facilities. A woman who had dealt with abuse, domestic violence, severe trauma and crises her entire life beginning in early childhood had finally escaped from the victimhood she had embraced for over forty years. Starting her life over after relocating to a new city where she knew not a single soul, she was properly diagnosed with PTSD, depression and an eating disorder. After establishing a treatment program of medication and counseling, she began her recovery. Spending an immense amount of time in self study of mental illness, eating and sleep disorders and lifestyle factors that affect mental and physical well being; she began to feel comfortable with admitting to others that she in fact experienced PTSD and depression.

Upon a visit to her dentist office she visited with the office staff and had to overcome a phobia of dealing with financial matters to speak about a balance which was overdue. She had been handling things so well until this moment when an unexpected repair had to be made to her home and the money wasn't available for the dentist bill. In good spirits she carefully and slowly explained the problems to the staff to ask for an extension. Being sure to speak slowly and clearly, being mindful of her breathing techniques and monitoring her level of stress within her body; she admitted to having the PTSD and depression and reflected the fact that on her medical chart within the office there were many medications that she was taking on the chart. She explained that this was what they were for and that she was on a steady journey of personal growth and recovery. She spoke confidently and announced to the staff how proud she was of herself for making so much positive forward progress.

Quickly the young woman who was in charge of the billing processes spoke out sharply, stating, "You had better hope you're getting it together! How can you expect to survive in today's world if you don't get a grip on yourself?"

The cutting tone of the young woman's voice and the lack of knowledge and understanding concerning mental illness had surprised the patient. She had always felt comfortable with the office staff, even surprising them with flowers for no special occassion in her quest to perform random acts of kindness. She was always talking to people about how great her dentist office was tried to bring additional customers to their practice.

Immediately the patient lost her breath as if someone had literally knocked the wind out of her and she couldn't look at either of the office girls in her prescence. Quickly leaving the office, she could never return. She lost track of her positive progress and regressed immediately. The cutting remarks had penetrated the newly formed confidence of the patient and once again, she had felt herself falling into depression and panic. The exchange put her backwards at least a year from the progress she had made.

In every avenue of today's life there are opportunities for the professional community to come into contact with a person who is experiencing a mental illness. Perhaps it's time that employers, hospital administrations, doctors' offices and even dentist, optometrist and counseling centers begin to teach their employees the facts about mental illness. It's time that people were forced to become aware of what uneducated service workers might unknowingly trigger in a mentally ill patient or patron. Even doctors' comments have been overheard by those experiencing mental illness to be sharp, uncaring and uneducated thus, causing the triggering of additional symptoms to an already unhealthy situation.

Every person on this earth needs to begin to educate themselves if they intend on dealing with any type of public affairs in their business, community or personal life. Just as we need to begin to educate ourselves on how to take care of our planet, it's essential that we learn how to take care of each other. The numbers are staggering if you care to examine them. You can realize the immensity of the problem by viewing any vital statistic material on the Internet concerning mental health.

Those with mental illnesses may even be experincing physical illnesses due to the fact that their mental illness had gone unrecognized and untreated. If, in fact, you are not ready to deal with the population that is experiencing a mental illness, you may want to stop all business affairs until you can learn more about dealing with people who need to be treated with respect, care and dignity instead of hurting someone unintentionally that is already suffering.

If, in fact, you are selling products to the public that might not be usuable by those with a mental illness; it's time to think about how to qualify that population. Nothing is as embarrassing than to be dealing with someone that you would like to purchase a self help product from and then find out that their product is ineffective if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and/or depression. Not only is it embarrassing, it triggers those who aren't ready to recognize their own triggers when someone is being humiliated or intimidated by an uneducated salesperson.

Believe me, this type of personal interaction is detrimental to those trying desperately to recover from a mental illness. It's time the reigns of professionalism are pulled in tighter to include a public that is experiencing a mental illness - a disability - into their considerations for quality customer service. Look for more of these articles and answers as to how to educate your administrators and employees in their communications with a very up and coming population!

Author's Bio: 

Kathleen Howe, a mother, wife and writer has a network of self help sites that include information for those working in personal growth and recovery. Sites cover a variety of topics that include life traumas and crises that Kathleen has experienced and recovered from herself. Look for her new site which is about to open that covers the same topic that the article above covers - Dealing with the Emergence of Mentally Ill Patients in the Medical and Mental Health Fields. It's about time the stigma was set aside! Also, visit her existing network of sites anytime~!