People with Psychiatric Disabilities or Mental Illness
PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES may at times have difficulty coping with the tasks and interactions of daily life.
Their disorder may interfere with their ability to feel, think or relate to others. Most people with psychiatric disabilities are not violent. One of the main obstacles they face is the attitudes that people have about them. Because it is a hidden disability, chances are you will not even realize that the person has a mental health condition.
Stress can affect the person’s ability to function. Try to keep the pressure of the situation to a minimum.
People who have psychiatric disabilities have varying personalities and different ways of coping with their disability. Some may have trouble picking up on social cues; others may be supersensitive.
One person may be very high energy, while someone else may appear sluggish. Treat each person as an individual. Ask what will make him most comfortable and respect his needs to the maximum extent possible.
In a crisis, stay calm and be supportive as you would with anyone. Ask how you can help, and find out if there is a support person who can be sent for.
If appropriate, you might ask if the person has medication that he needs to take.