Ronda Vernon (Psychiatrist, Senior Therapist & Case Manager)
Onno van der R. (Psychologist & Support Staff Member)
Rev. Dr. Ann Ono (Recreational Therapist & Health Care Chaplain)
Varn O’Donner (Social Worker & Occupational Therapist)
Dorrena von N. (Nurse & Social Worker)
Donn Verrano (Support Staff Member)

In recent years the mental hospital has been viewed as a small social system. I’d like to introduce you to seven of the members of the medical and non-medical staff I interacted with most intensely during my stay at one of the many Mental Health Centers so needed in this hectic world.

Panel 1

1 Management staff

R. van Noorden (CEO of Sanatorium Nervosa)

As the CEO of our mental health institution, it is my pleasure to speak with all of you today. I know that the past few months have been especially challenging, as we have all had to navigate the unique challenges and stresses brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite these challenges, I remain deeply committed to the mission of our institution: to provide high-quality, compassionate care to all of our patients, and to support our employees in their important work.

I want to reassure each and every one of you that we are in this together, and that we are committed to providing the support and resources you need to succeed in your roles. Whether you are a therapist, nurse, support staff member, or administrator, your contributions to our institution are invaluable, and I am deeply grateful for all that you do.

I also want to encourage all of you to continue to prioritize your own mental health and well-being. Remember to take breaks, seek support when you need it, and practice self-care. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of our patients and on the wider community.

Thank you all for your dedication and hard work. Let’s continue to work together to make our institution a place of hope and healing for all.

I would like to take a moment to publicly thank my wife Ana Gram for her invaluable support and contributions to the “One Body” project. This project has been a true labor of love for both of us, and I am deeply grateful for Ana’s dedication, hard work, and creativity in helping to bring it to fruition.
Ana has always been a driving force behind this project, bringing her unique perspective, ideas, and insights to the table. She has played a critical role in shaping the direction and vision of the project, and her contributions have been invaluable.
I am also grateful to Ana for her unwavering support and encouragement as I have worked on this project. She has always been there for me, providing a shoulder to lean on and a sounding board for my ideas. Her support has been a key factor in my ability to stay focused and motivated throughout the development process.
So, on behalf of myself and our entire team, I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Ana for her outstanding contributions to the “One Body” project, and for all that she does for me and for our family. Thank you, Ana, for your tireless dedication, your creative spirit, and your unwavering support.

Panel 2

2 Nursing staff

In a mental health institution, nursing staff often work closely together as a team in order to provide the best possible care to patients. This teamwork approach is beneficial for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, nursing staff operate as one body in order to ensure that patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care. By working together, nurses can ensure that all of a patient’s needs are being met, and that there is a consistent approach to treatment. This can help to improve the overall quality of care and increase the chances of a positive outcome for the patient.

In addition, working as a team allows nursing staff to support and learn from one another. Nurses can share knowledge and expertise, and collaborate on problem-solving and decision-making. This can help to enhance the skills and professionalism of individual nurses, as well as the overall effectiveness of the nursing team.

Finally, working as a cohesive team can foster a sense of community and belonging among nursing staff. This can help to create a positive and supportive work environment, which in turn can lead to improved job satisfaction and retention.

Overall, operating as one body allows nursing staff in a mental health institution to provide the highest quality care to patients, while also supporting and learning from one another.

Panel 3

3 The patient

Alter Ego: “I’m always left with a bad aftertaste when you boast of being a mental patient. Kind of like the Black Face idea. From a position of total prosperity and carelessness, you identify yourself with someone who is seriously having a very bad time. For people with real lifelong mental health problems, this is no joke.”
Ego: “You raise an objection here that was also somewhere in my head from the beginning. So I agree with you. This site should never aim to ridicule real patients. Nor should it be an unintended consequence of what I’m doing here. In my life I met a few people who actually struggle with mental problems and that doesn’t make you happy. I could change the patient’s name and make myself the CEO of the facility. Or is that even more cynical?”
Alter Ego: “Making fun of the whole problem is the problem, so that doesn’t help.”
Ego: “And if I immediately discuss my internal objections to this venture, for example through this dialogue? Would it then be perceived as more appropriate?”
Alter Ego: “Experiment as much as you like in this corner of the web – which is only visited by a small number of people anyway – but always consider the moral consequences. Don’t go too far with this.”

Panel 4

4 the guard

For security reasons, Ron van E. (Dr. No) has chosen not to be in the picture. Of course, the last name of our guard also remains hidden from the public.
Some psychiatric hospital residents are there due to court order rather than personal choice. This makes controlling who exits the building of paramount importance, and security guards often receive daily updates on who can and can’t go outside or leave the building. Likewise, doctors may limit who can visit a patient, particularly if the visitor poses a danger to the patient. Security guards must ensure that each visitor is authorized and has not brought contraband, such as weapons or drugs, into the hospital.
All psychiatric hospital workers have a duty to protect patient privacy, but security guards at psychiatric facilities often know more about patient histories than those who work in traditional hospitals. Security guards may sit in on therapy sessions or know the dosage of a drug a patient takes to calm anxiety. Laws prevent guards from disclosing this information to anyone, including family members, without specific, written authorization. I dare say that, at some stage of our relationship, Dr. No knew more about me than my fiancée.
Security officers in psychiatric hospitals wear many hats, from providing security to doctors and nurses to offering companionship to residents. A wide variety of people reside in psychiatric hospitals, from those seeking help for minor psychiatric conditions to those who have been hospitalized due to criminal insanity. Consequently, good security guards don’t make assumptions about residents, but do remain constantly vigilant.
An unfortunate reality of life in a psychiatric hospital is that some residents pose a danger to themselves. Security guards must protect all residents. This may mean inspecting residents’ rooms for potential threats, such as shoelaces that can be used to hang oneself. It also means assessing the proper use of force for patients who are out of control. For example, a person experiencing a psychotic episode may begin destroying property, and must be restrained. A good security guard avoids excessive and prolonged use of restraints, while still ensuring that patients pose no danger to themselves or others.
Particularly in facilities that house the criminally insane, security guards take a more active role in security than they might in a traditional hospital. You may be assigned a floor that you must perpetually patrol, and in some cases, may even be tasked with protecting an individual doctor or nurse. When medical staff work with a patient, you may sit in on the meetings and be required to intervene if the patient becomes dangerous.