Lack of Adequate Information about Psychosocial Disabilities
People whom we interviewed said mental health professionals did not always provide adequate information to patients with psychosocial disabilities and their family members about their conditions or treatment options. Soheila, who has worked with persons with psychosocial disabilities for many years in different healthcare positions said,
For example, some psychiatrists do not explain to family members that when a person with schizophrenia says that they see images or hear voices, they really do, and that the family should not try to argue with them. Failure to provide such simple explanations makes the situation very difficult … for the patient and the family. We had a case in which the family was [only] informed after 40 years of living with someone with schizophrenia about the condition and its nature.
Mahdi, a man with a psychosocial disability, said, “Once, I got a job as a secretary and stopped taking my medication because I didn’t want to look languid and sleepy. But after a couple of months I felt terrible and had to go to the hospital. I didn’t know that I should not stop taking my drugs whenever I wanted. My doctor never told me.”
Persons with psychosocial disabilities interviewed also stated that they were not aware of their right to know about the treatment they are receiving and available alternatives. “I regret to say that persons with mental health conditions are so unaware of their rights and have so deeply absorbed the message that they are a burden to society that they rarely raise any complaint about not being included in their treatment process. So, we hardly feel any problem about the lack of free consent,” said Soheila.
Jafar, a 52-year-old man with a psychosocial disability said, “When I go to the [psychiatric] hospital, I let them restrain me to my bed to prove that I want to cooperate and to ensure that I’m not injuring anyone.”