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Вітаємо вас у Довіднику безбар’єрності

«У комунікації приховано набагато більше сенсів, ніж нам здається. Цей Довідник допоможе розкрити нові, додаткові смисли, коли в центрі уваги – людина та її різноманіття. І це стане першим кроком у формуванні нової етики спілкування».

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Олена Зеленська

How to conduct yourself around people with psychological or mental disorders

10.03.2022

If you are in contact for the first time with a person with a mental illness, you’ll need to:

  1. Recognise the symptoms of a mental disorder. Pay attention to how a person speaks, the peculiarities of his behavior and reactions. The following peculiarities may be signs of a psychological disorder:
  • confusing, accelerated or slurred speech, repetition of the same words and phrases, meaningless statements, answers to non-essential questions
  • distracted attention, confusion, answers after a long pause
  • the person talks to himself, or to an imaginary person, suddenly falls silent and freezes in place, listens to sounds that are not there
  • the persons repeats certain rituals
  • motor arousal, aggressive behavior

During emergencies, including hostilities, a person may have a primary psychotic episode (i.e. no such disorders have been observed previously).

  1. Confirm that it is, indeed, a psychological disorder. Establish contact with the person or their family members, guardians, and accompanying persons. Offer to go to a safe place and talk. Be calm and ready to ensure the confidentiality of the conversation if asked. Ask about the symptoms of the mental disorder and offer options for support and help. Find out if the person is receiving professional medical care.
  2. Support them. Support the person and their loved ones emotionally, share your own observations about the symptoms they might be displaying, and outline their manifestations. Explain to the person or his / her relatives / guardians the need for professional help.
  3. Help them find medical care and make sure they receive the proper attention. Direct them to the medical professionals that deal with these issues, the medical and social services and hotlines such as:
  • The free 24-hour “Person in trouble” hotline (0 800 210 160)
  • The suicide prevention and psychological health support 24-hour hotline (7333)
  • The hotline of the Kyiv City Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Care in Mental Crisis ((044) 456 17 02, (044) 456 17 25)

If necessary, help the person contact or reach the necessary specialists and services. The doctors can also consult online, as well as write prescriptions and send them via photo. They can be used to buy medications at the pharmacy.

Get in touch with the person or his / her relatives / guardian to organize a second visit to the doctor if necessary, find out about the outcome of the appointment and if assistance has been provided, and if necessary – refer the person to another specialist.

It is important that the person has a list of people to contact in a crisis situation. It is desirable to have collected documents, medical records, prescriptions, treatment plans, certificate of disability, court decision on partial or complete incapacity and information about the appointed guardian.

* Based on the recommendations provided by Yuri Volnykh, a psychiatrist of the highest category, psychoanalyst

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