We see lots of mental health patients in the emergency room where I work.
The process usually goes something like this:
Patient shows up at triage, feeling suicidal/homicidal, upset, possibly with family…wanting to check in to get help/resources.
Patient escalates when they find out that they will be put into a hospital gown, have their blood drawn and most likely will be in a bed that resides in the hallway.
Patient further escalates as the time passes and their desire to leave/have a cigarette is overcoming their desire to stay and get help.
Patient is calmed with sandwich/juice and relaxes.
Patient is energized by their recent caloric intake and further escalates.
Patient is calmed down and discharged/sent to another facility
Patient is restrained…goes completely ape, and is detained by the state.
All in all, it can be be very stressful working to manage someone that is struggling mentally and is also becoming progressively more and more angry.
My strategy is to try and relate to the patient and to empathize with what they are going through. It does become hard when you are personally attacked and nothing you do can distract the person from their anger. Luckily, I have learned healthy ways of dealing with my stress. I might exercise, play guitar, or write (like I’m doing now!)
We all have to deal with stressful stuff at work/school/home…how do you handle your stress? Comment and let us know!