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What should the public know about mental illness. I think if the public could understand that this is a sickness as same as any other illness they would take the comment which you have just heard is that of a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Dr. Ralph Patterson I have the privilege of being the director of that hospital. I invite you to join me in listening to the comments of the patients themselves expressing their viewpoints about mental illness and hospitalization. Our Unfinished Business A series of programs tape recorded designed to acquaint you with social welfare about.
Protests by the Ohio State University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's unfinished business you mean. I'm mentally ill. You have all been reading and hearing a great deal about mental illness and you are probably acquainted with the immensity of the problem. Over one half of our hospital beds are occupied by the mentally ill. This amounts to over 700000 patients and each year more and more hospital space has to be devoted to the care of the mentally ill in order to give you more understanding of this subject and how the patient feels about it. Let us listen to the remarks of a number of patients in a psychiatric hospital. You will hear the actual voices speaking spontaneously and without rehearsal.
The first question we asked was from your own experience. What do you think causes mental illness. Oh I think mental illness is a time when a person is. Emotionally upset or easily upset and let things bother them very readily and they feel as though everybody is against them. It just builds up to a point where they're unable to iron out their problems without the help of others. Could be to a series of being rejected over a period of time. Maybe it started in your early youth then maybe all through your life you've had experiences where you felt rejected by people you knew or you love and you just can't just feel you can present problems and pretty soon every thing that stems from that creates problems that you can't. I mean things that come up in your home.
Yes and the experience. Fear and insecurity with age I think again and tributes to him to a lot more than in other words I think I could cope with my situation a lot better. Fifteen years ago in a different and entirely different frame of mind than what it is now you know when you're on even to cope with their problems. Being sensitive to the point of other people what they do in their relationship to people. Not being able to thanks them or I don't know if you are of course sometimes have physical symptoms and I was in my case it was the first time I noticed that I was having emotional problems or learned since that I personally have had a lot warmer than just the physical symptoms showed up. But you know you get
headaches pains in your chest sometimes think you're sick all the time and have a heart attack. Yes I suppose swim spots in front of your eyes touch a migraine something like an axe buried in the back of your neck. This has truly been in-crowd your resistance groups are going to more of a show with my turn more real and I would really want to come here and go into the dining room. Both you and I were coming up no there's no chance of coming here. Let's just music. No absolutely no physical pain but the first that I noticed that anything was wrong with all of us. Loss of appetite nationally about 90 I think when you get a loss of weight and then I get so
I just couldn't sleep. Friend I couldn't figure any reason for it. I didn't have any unduly heavy problems financially or otherwise I was at the time. But for some reason or other it was just impossible for me to sleep and to stay in a steady position I was very tense. People who are in Hell are often afraid to go to a doctor. This is particularly true of patients with emotional or mental illness. We are now seeking the answer to this question. How did you feel about asking for psychiatric help. I discussed this with one of the patients now about two weeks ago you called me up one day and said you thought you should come into the hospital. How were you feeling at the time you called me out. Well at the time I called I had a feeling of being under
a constant strain and alternating between depression. I felt everything was hopeless and a complete feeling a few killed and I couldn't function anymore in the home. And so I thought that I should have psychiatric help. Were you afraid to stay at home. I was afraid to be alone and I was afraid. Also when someone within the house with me did come to the hospital meaning to you then what did it offer to you as you thought about it. Well I knew that I was mostly ill and then just the thoughts of the hospital gave me a certain feeling of hope and security felt more secure more safe if you could come into the hospital. Now let us listen to the comments of some of the other patients in respect to
this particular question. How did you feel about asking for psychiatric help. When I first heard feeling bad way I'd be down to the doctor numerous different times would first of all I went to see about my heart and then I went to see about my head to see if it might be a tumor or something and I hear this go down a lot of different terms for individual little things I thought could be wrong with me and I got to the place where I had exhausted everything nobody could locate anything organically wrong. None of the have ever suggested I seek safety. Thank you to go ahead. There was an experience in my family where my mother had to have psychiatric treatment. I thought maybe it might be a good idea if I would get out and try that sort of the latest resort. But then I figured mine from the start so I said I did good doctors to see and could I took every physical test that they could think of it and there was nothing
physically at all wrong so my minister I have a feeling the foreman and I knew we were on good terms and I had talked to him and he suggested say that but he has to see this guy just and it might be along those lines. Incidentally you would notice some background noise from time to time. This is due to a terrific gale that was blowing during part of the recordings. I think sometimes to people on the outside who are upset about a certain problem if they seek the help of a therapist. Go to the some outpatient clinic. Oftentimes that can help and they can avoid hospitalization at that many times if they don't recognize their problems and let this condition go on. It seems as though
hospitalization is the only answer. Well I don't think the public is informed as to what the degree of mental health. I think that sometimes they think they just have problems and they don't they're not aware that things need psychiatric help. And the average person fears. Since very few people have any knowledge about the actual program of a psychiatric hospital. The anxiety about entering is quite understandable. We have to share row patients who have been in the hospital for some time to comment upon the program and how it harmonized with their expectations. I was very surprised when I came in I thought that the doctor mentioned going to a hospital even though I knew it was for psychiatric treatment seemed it was very similar to a normal hospital where you go in and you go to bed you lay there and they treat you. Simply
diagnose you treat you and I suppose what you could say I expect when I came here was to give me a drug or something which would snap me out of it. Go on my way. When I find it it is quite different from the first it was very difficult adjusting to. Which. Possibly could be part of my original problem. I think they're much more lenient here than I had been led to expect that we have a lot of privileges and a lot of things that we are allowed to do and encouraged to do and everything I think possible is being done to make our life here as pleasant as you know possible and I don't feel I'm in the penitentiary or anything like that in fact they just take walks even alone when they see that we can be depended on it's all for our own safety. I haven't found any rule yet that I. Don't think I've seen myself stop and think about it. The rule has a reason and this is for you good.
I think you'll find a lot of people who are ashamed of it. I didn't feel that way about it but I'll say frankly that when I came here I still had enough of my normal senses but I was scared to death because I had heard things and what I had heard I had heard from people that heard from someone I was from and passed along what I had heard was not true. I found that it's a much nicer place than I expected and I had no reason at all of the afraid of it. I think one of the big hopes you get here to the fact that by being here all I've been here just might say I love you now almost that day is that I've seen people come and go in this short time that I've been here and the fact that people are being helped everyday and I've seen the did the change in them myself because me confidence that. In my treatment. It helps to know that there are other people placed outside
and you think that I'm the only freak in the world with just this particular court and that's a great help to know there are other people who were surprised when I first came to talk to you doctor when it seemed to me like it was just one man as long as it seems like you know through all you do pretty well so you missed it when you went to this reason. It's just surprising when we do get these patients came to the hospital voluntarily and they leave as soon as they're well enough to resume community living activities of home and work. Patients at times encounter unfavorable attitudes on the part of a relative or employer who does not appreciate that people recover from mental illness just as they do from physical disorders. Although a few patients
fear leaving the hospital the majority become free of sensitivity and return to the community with courage and confidence. But let's talk with some patients about returning to employment. But now that we ask this lady something. So much better that you are out looking for a job in your hometown the other day. I'd like to know what the feelings you had as you went to round asking for a job. Did you have any feelings about having been in a psychiatric hospital. What were those feelings like I felt like they were going to hire me. In fact at one place I didn't even tell them that I had my sit still and the hospital and another place I fell out of an application blank and I didn't know what to say so I said Nurse exhaustion unless your reason for my not working that's not that was the first do you think that the public needs to have a little more understanding of nervous breakdowns.
I'm sure it is. Cheri do you feel better if the public goes more accepting of this maybe there wouldn't be anybody else that felt like that because it's well now I mean I was just looking for a job or considering looking for John. I hate him. If you had any feelings about what people think about you treatment because people will just tell you one day I will be and it will be a list of the people in the local law. You're working with them two years ago for two years and it didn't bother me to tell them that I had been here and I wasn't afraid of their feeling toward me. To change your being different and the people I talked to about jobs I didn't come here
and they seemed to understand that I do have a fear of some people. How do you feel you have a fear that some people will not understand. Now you are applying for a job in a large city which may be different and this other lady was applying for a job in a smaller city. Do you think that the people in the smaller city are less understanding than the people in a large city. I don't know. While my sisters say that is just fine in the home. I then say that after all there have been plenty of people in the line your sister thinks you're just kind of afraid Oh well yes I think I think about all my nervousness. But let's listen to what some other patients have to say about employment. When I worked for a number of years in an office and I knew I was a very capable person
I know that after leaving here I'm still going to be a capable person. I have every bit of faith in myself I'm going out and I could get a job I want and I would even think about being really you. Know here the same Going to the doctor to have a growth for nine or 10 years and there will probably be some people that will have something to say that if they if I can tell them how much I've been held to and how much better I feel and they're going to see that I look better. Maybe they don't understand this thing and this is illness and that you can be helped. It's not something that will last all the time that you can be helped. Why don't I work for a number of years and I wouldn't have any qualms at all by going out looking. Like I know I've been a capable person and I know I will be. But I feel as though I have more confidence in myself than I have actually ever had maybe before I told myself I had confidence but now
I feel as though I. Actually have the true confidence that I need and I know that I have helped myself and I have been helped here tremendously. And I feel as though I can do things and go out to take up my normal living and be a success and I really feel that I will enjoy living much more enjoy life much more than I ever did before and I want about members of your own Framley I wonder whether some of you think the members of your own from way are not accepting of your having had nervous trouble. Did you ever really feeling about well. I take a year or two that they might be this little bit ashamed to say they think you know and you think maybe your family is more difficult than
the other two I'm from Missouri so we have to educate not just the public but the families too. You have noticed this reference to other patients sometimes have the same feeling. Well before I came into the hospital I felt a sort of a sense of shame connected with it. I didn't know what it what to expect and I know when I came in the first day I came in I was taken around by one of the nurses and introduced to the other patients and I was actually looking for something visual that I could see that might show me they were maladjusted in some way and I found that there wasn't anything there that they were just people with problems like myself and knowing the patients here.
I feel that there shouldn't be is a sense of shame connected with it because. We're just emotionally upset by certain things and I don't think it's shameful. It can be compared to shame everybody is upset once in a while. And you know our case perhaps is just something that. We don't seem to be able to. Conquer or. Find the strength to manage without coming into a place like this for help. You gradually get over that. When you see that now all the other patients are in there it isn't as bad as you thought it was before you came here you understand it. And if the public could be made to understand I don't think maybe they understand what it's all about oh my when I was
home and it was suggested that I come here I was thinking just like the general public things that people in here had to be restrained in they were. I had lost complete control of themselves and therefore I had reached that stage. Why should I be here. But after coming here realizing there were so many other patients who were just like I was who had problems they couldn't solve at home. Then if I lost that's a change. Now let's have some closing comments about how the patients expect to get along. My feature there is a move to black eye thing looks awfully good when I get out of government job is get married we were years and I just think you're going right we're stuck. If you know anybody else if you know the main thing concerning me in the future at the moment is not my plans and so forth the attitude of the general public will take from me what I am informed that I
have been in a mental hospital for psychiatric treatment. I have before I came in here since I can when you're now I realize that there are a lot of people that don't know anything about what actually is done here I think that people need to be educated to what kind of work is being done and good that they will hear the truth rather than hearsay and a lot of magination and I know some of the things that I heard before I came here as I said before I was more or less scared of the place because I didn't know what to expect. And I've heard some new things that I've found that work for us instead of going in there. I think some of the stigmatism of the fact that it's a mental institution or a mental hospital I think there's a lot of people that carry that too far because I've seen since I've been here that it strikes irrespective family or the condition of your family is liable to strike anyone's family
in the fact that there is help to be shared and good health and I think that we need an educational program so that people will not wait too long because they are ashamed to come to the institution of this war and I went home you know last weekend and I went out to see my little girl her bank and this woman drove my car. She stared at me and I had recognized her. Well we're not personal. But she almost ran up on the curb whether she was staring so I thought that what it didn't seem very funny to me. I guess I didn't take my gun my husband came out and he said Isn't that awful. And he said I don't like such things to happen to you. I said Well really it didn't bother me until you did again. Then I started to tell you the truth when she was security is not such a I would say you know more of it since well when I'm out on the weekends.
And see someone that knows I've been here. I find that they don't mention the subject they don't bring it up I don't bring it up of course if they would bring it up I would. Answer anything that might be in there you know might be a question in their minds about the place. But I find that I just go on as usual and make good conversation about things as I always did. Would you feel better. They talk to people. Yes I think perhaps I would because maybe in their talking to me they could better understand that we're not crazy so to speak but emotionally upset and we need perhaps in order to get well we need to be removed from the place we were at to get away or look at our problems at a distance. We're so near our problem maybe we're too near it when we're at home and need we in order to understand our problems have to get away from that environment and those influences and
look at them a little differently. We're not. I suppose it's been difficult for some of you yourself to accept the fact you've had some emotional difficulties as long as you've been going out for visits. When you go out for a visit do you ever have a feeling you want to hurry back to the hospital. Yeah I know. And what is the reason you feel like you want to hurry back. What does the hospital mean to you. It means to me the other people that people that are in the understand how you feel like you're on the outside then they remark what you just heard expressed by psychiatric patients is very much to the point. People don't understand as you listened perhaps you were wondering Can these be emotionally and mentally ill people talking. One of the common misconceptions is that one is either perfectly well or have
mentally ill is beside himself while unmanageable such is far from the truth. As these patients have just said psychiatric illness has many and varied manifestations indecision fear tension. A person who feels all tied in knots because of tension may also have headaches stomach cramps or physical distress to another the world presents a picture of confusion or is dark and gloomy as one patient so aptly said it's those thoughts with burrs on them that keep bothering me. There is no one cause of mental illness just as there is no one mental illness. The causes are many and varied. I simply stated it is the sum total of all the vexations frustrations and insoluble problems that produces the collapse commonly called a nervous breakdown. Every individual encounters disagreeable or difficult situations in life and can meet a certain number of these without becoming ill.
That one too many worry may seem trivial to the onlooker yet be catastrophic to the patient. Each year tens of thousands of people become overloaded emotionally and need psychiatric help. Those who are obtain immediate treatment usually recover and can resume contented community living. Now let me ask you a couple of very pertinent questions. Do you have in your community or nearby a clinic or hospital to which a patient can go voluntarily for psychiatric treatment. The hospital in which the community has an understanding interest in which the treatment atmosphere is alert and optimistic where patients can receive adequate treatment without fuss or bother of court procedure. When the patient returns home from the hospital do you receive Him just as you would a person who had a physical disorder. Whether a person has been flattened by an automobile accident or by overwhelming vexations Whether years had a physical or amental illness
should make no difference in your attitude. Without being inquisitive you can be most helpful by simply being receptive and understanding as a friend or relative of an emotionally sick individual or as a public spirited citizen. Are you doing everything you can to create receptive attitudes in your community. This situation demands action not tomorrow today. Now. Patterson unfinished business was
in cooperation with the school. From the Educational Television and Radio Center this was distributed by the National Association of Broadcasters Les Spencer. This is the network.
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Unfinished business
You Mean I'm Mentally Ill? - Program 11
Producing Organization
WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
A series of programs designed to acquaint listeners with unresolved social welfare problems.
Social Issues
Media type
Advisor: Church, James
Host: Spencer, Les
Narrator: Holsinger, Robert
Producer: Himes, Fred
Producer: Ewing, William
Producing Organization: WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 4950 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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APA: Unfinished business; You Mean I'm Mentally Ill? - Program 11. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from