One of the most misunderstood conversations medical professionals can have with a patient is to tell them they are in need of mental health treatment. Without appropriate use of language and empathy, approaching patients who have mental health problems can leave them feeling upset and angry thinking “it is all in their head,” whether it was said explicitly, implied, or not addressed at all.
Patients who present with medically unexplained symptoms, often understand their symptoms to be structural in origin. However, if these conditions are caused by somatization, the underlying cause is not a structural problem per se, but can likely be an emotional one.
Anxiety, depression, and somatic presentations (chronic pain, etc) can be formed from thoughts and emotions that are either frightening, conflicting, or culturally/socially unacceptable. These thoughts and emotions are typically constructed from disruptive interpersonal experiences, trauma, neglect, modeling, etc. As a result, patients have multiple return visits and unsuccessful referrals. The patient’s inefficacious presentations increase medical costs for both the patients, medical facilities, and emergency services.
Please contact Catherine Cleveland to help you and your staff learn how to appropriately address and recommend mental health services to your patients in a beneficent, nonmaleficence, and culturally respective manner.