Dear Docs, Nurses, Health care workers
Consider how you can help in this moment, in memory of this kind, open-hearted man.
What you say matters.
What you don’t say, matters.
What you body says, matters.
As does your vocal intonation
Things that help.
“I can see you are going through a really tough time at the moment”
This acknowledges their psychological pain and your understanding of its presence
“May I hold your hand”
I have found that the simple act of touch very powerful. It may provoke tears as realising they are going to receive kindness when they feel so unworthy of it, can be overwhelming
Maintain eye contact and smile – Get in the moment with this temporarily lost soul – tell them
“It’s gonna be ok. You can get better from this”
“I’m going to get you some help while you are going through this”
Simple statements such as these give hope when all seems hopeless
Explain the details of what is going to happen, what the next steps are – help them make informed decisions about their journey esp if they are involuntary – Engage this person with the journey ahead of them
Give them some power back – when they are feeling powerless
Formulate a plan – right now – what is going to help them manage their distress – right now
Be discrete with your questioning – offer privacy as they expose their shame and their pain – Depression is almost always accompanied by deep shame
Be kind, be kind, be kind -even if you have no insight into the pain they are feeling – Please, be kind – you will make them feel better with your kindness
How you feel about them or their behaviour is irrelevant – Put it to one side and don’t let it impact their treatment
Your handover may well dictate the level of understanding and care they receive from the next medical or nursing team
Give the same level of professional, compassionate, respectful care to the depressed person as you would to the heart attack patient
….and I know so many of you do………..
Finally – Thank you Robin Williams – through your suicide -Depression is being talked about – Understanding is being gained -Treatment will get better
You have found peace now.
And through your actions in life and your actions at the end of your physical life, you have have given gifts to everyone else who suffers psychological pain