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.
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.”
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.