Through this unique perspective, we can learn how to better manage these emergent psychiatric crises and assessments, as well as provide better support to these patients through developing greater understanding, appreciation, and empathy.
In this article, the author provides us with tips and advice on assessing and handling patients with mental health issues in the ED, including how to be mindful of time, noise, delivery of our questions, and especially of our nonverbal behaviours.
"You find my thinking jumbled and confused, the quantity and register of my speech is fluctuating wildly. But I’m also hyper-attentive to language, as anyone would be in a high stakes situation (was that “talk to” or “torture”?). In an idle moment a nurse at the foot of my bed has concluded an anecdote with a hearty “I could have killed him,” and perhaps she thought that was boring or inaudible, but I heard it. And I thought you wanted me to hear it, that it was in the script. (Just as I’m sure you wanted me to hear the sounds of pain just the other side of that curtain.) Because for now, you and I differ about what we think this building, this institution, is for.
In such a state, someone like me may seem beyond reassurance. But you can help—there are ways you can avoid reinforcing my fears ..."