English nursing manager Theo Bello gives an inside view of mental healthcare and discusses society’s fear of integrating the mentally ill back into society. Irrational fear among the public at large is greatly multiplied when a criminal is mentally ill, says Bello. “Politics, sensationalist media coverage and widespread public prejudice about mental illness are a potent cocktail that keeps us in stalemate because it’s the safest position to occupy.” He argues that community housing and a close-knit support group could ease patient’s readjustment to society.
What’s the Big Idea?
The task of treating the mentally ill can be extremely challenging given our own moral predispositions but it is not a less important task for that reason. “People do the most shocking and bizarre things but at some level it makes perfect sense to them even if it leaves the rest of us shaking our heads in disbelief,” says Bello. “Our job is to find out why patients behave the way they do, what triggers their behavior and if their condition can be effectively treated.” Bello says empathy, maturity and respect aid him in trying to understand his patients.