Excerpt from The Halfway House
By Jean Winter
Pine View Rehabilitation Unit
Recommendations for change
Summary of Report
The local government commissioned a report, outlining the dysfunctional areas and the installation of better conditions for housing and services in the mental health area. Issues outlined were to create a positive outcome for both the health of those assessed and the wider community.
Research into existing projects and initiatives and evaluating current systems are necessary if the government is to reinvest time, money and people into similar ventures.
Activities and education are important tools in improving mental health. The national government mental health body recommended after very thorough perusal and careful consideration, that the following activities and programmes were to continue.
- Socialization programme – community liaisons.
- Life skills programme – domestic functioning.
- Group therapy – communication studies.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy and other recognised psychological tools.
- Self esteem-confidence programme – growth development.
- Anger management programme – emotional health.
- Anxiety management – desensitization activities.
- Dealing with depression programme – mood disorder analysis.
- Meditation and relaxation programme and other recreational activities.
- Goal setting – personal and professional development.
- Education and preventative measures in the wider community.
The major and crucial element in mental health is dissemination of information and education. Knowledge relating to various types of mental illness, their definitions, symptoms and treatments currently underway and future research and implementation.
The above programmes and significant educational vision, attempting to reinforce self identity and creation of a harmonious community has been identified as a realistic venture.
However the projects implemented in rehabilitation units have been inconclusive. The lack of control in small ‘halfway houses’ has negatively reinforced mental health issues and increased problematic areas relating to the community and the mental health sufferer. Therefore such small rehabilitative units are not beneficial.
It is recommended that clients with mental disorders should be divided and the necessity for a supervisor to coerce motivation and control inappropriate behaviour is essential.
Programmes of import and reform suggested in the aforesaid material are likely to be more influential and practicable with increased staff patient ratio. To improve research, medical data and profiles, related to each individual.
The large and excessive experimental rehabilitative process has proved indefinite with long term objectives. As such the rehabilitative process within the community needs to be on a smaller basis with definable concrete therapies.
It is important to provide conclusive data in the rehabilitation process. Identifying and creating opportunities for the rehabilitation and reintegration of mental health sufferers. The identifiable needs of clients are the first priority.
Recovery, functioning and resolving problems is related to awareness and knowledge. It requires hard work, not only from patients but government departments and the community as a whole. The attempts to acquire better services for those who suffer a mental illness, involves the cooperation of the larger community, to better understand trauma and the insight needed to recover from any major tragedy or illness.
Mental illness is not an isolated problem, or condition. Hospitalisation is necessary, but the important building blocks of growth occur with others, integration into society.
Therefore the results recommend continuing the rehabilitative process, incorporating individual needs as opposed to institutionalised conditions. Information regarding recovery and incurable illness is still inconclusive.
Gardenia Baxter’s list of medications
The majority were taken at Felixstowe Hospital and as an outpatient for the successive seven years.
Antipsychotics were prescribed for a psychotic thought disorder. Gardenia was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
List of Antipsychotics
Gardenia was also diagnosed with depression and a generalized anxiety disorder.
List of Antidepressants
Gardenia was also diagnosed with a bipolar type disorder.
List of Mood stabilizers and Anticonvulsant
Gardenia also suffered with insomnia, anxiety and agitation.
List of Benzodiazepines
Gardenia was treated for side effects of medication.
List of Anticholinergics
Gardenia Baxter’s list of unwanted side affects related to her psychiatric medication. There are greater degrees of discomfort attributable to some medications than others. Gardenia had signs of tardive dyskinesia and Parkinsonism symptoms.
List of Side effects
Dilation of pupils – a significant and obvious sign of being overmedicated
Slowed intellectual functioning
Difficulty in speech
Inability to sleep
Loss of appetite
Mask like face
Decreased frequency of blinking
Inability to move eyes
Muscle spasms of face
Difficulty in swallowing
Restlessness or need to keep moving
Shuffling walk; stiffness of arms or legs
Trembling and shaking of hands and fingers
Involuntary choreathetotic movements
Walking stiffly without swinging the arms
Loss of balance and control
Lack or loss of coordination
Swelling of ankles
Dryness of mouth
Difficulty in urinating
Sensitivity to light
Socially inappropriate behaviour ie disrobing in public
Changes in menstrual period
Elevated prolactin which suppress menstruation