I come to you to share my most vulnerable self. I should trust you immediately, considering the nature of your job. But not everyone has been compassionate and considerate regarding my vulnerabilities.
Dear doctor, your judgments can impact my world. They can lift me up or smash me down to the ground. Your bedside manner means the difference between reaching out for help and not reaching out. If you are hopeful, I feel hopeful. If you are negative, I feel negative.
Dear doctor, please don’t tell me I am faking it or it’s all in my head. I have enough of those types of people in my life, including myself sometimes. I need kindness and gentleness with my feelings. After all, I see you when my mental health is in its most rough state. And what you don’t know doctor is that it takes a lot of courage to come see you.
Dear doctor, when you take the extra minute in a routine appointment during your busy day to ask how I’m doing, it means everything to me. To have a doctor care, even just a little - makes all the difference to anyone who is struggling with their mental health. You may not understand, but you still care.
Dear doctor, you may not realize it but your non-verbal communication is important. Standoff-ish VS listening intently, eye contact VS looking elsewhere, hand gestures VS turning your back towards me. It all means something. Something like eye contact goes a long way.
Dear doctor, I’m not telling you how to do your job. I’m telling you that the way you deal with a mental health patient can be the difference between getting help and not getting help. It can change lives.