Encouraging medical/ health care students to disclose- when your illness in the "past" *link trigger
If the applicant has bipolar disorder or chronic depression that is well managed and the applicant is currently healthy, he or she may answer “no.” But if, in the case of a malpractice action, the applicant is shown to be taking medication, the applicant could be accused of lying on the application and lose his/her medical license (as well as the liability case), since the chronic disorder could be construed as interfering with the clinician’s ability.
http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.or...i.pn.2016.12b6 *(Article potentially triggering)
This has had an impact on the medical profession- especially in training.
The language was used of having a "past" mental health condition implies a lack of understanding of the psychopathology, treatment and possibility of relapse.
Medical students with addiction or mental illness history should disclose. Whether a university has an occupational health officer, or they are under the care of a surgery or student health service or outpatient clinic- by disclosing there is a means of monitoring their recovery and establishing a place to go to if they relapse and require intervention.
Unfortunately, confidentiality is not ensured, stigma is not avoidable- and the very professionals who teach and work in healthcare find it challenging to accept their colleagues as patients, clients and service users.
So I got to talk to some students about the changes they are seeing at medical school regarding this. Not only are faculty disclosing, but research is being conducted to understand the impact things like depression has on students, and there is an open discussion encouraging persons to view mental illness as normal and also asking for help as a safe course of action.
Unfortunately, I do see the other side of the coin where the concept of consent is an illusion, so if you are considered a harm to yourself or others- it is clear that omission from occupational health and safety forms and other disclosures to work with children and vulnerable adults may not support a history of mental illness that leads to hospitalization or leaves of absence from studying.
Either the profession embraces all, or still makes it difficult for some to access support without fear of consequences.
This post was important to me on several levels- I spoke to the students as an expert IP patient coming off a section- which I felt at the time was unwarranted. Subsequently, I recently had a severe relapse of SH, and I chose to fully disclose to my school counselor with the very real fear that I would not be allowed to work or continue in my studies. While I still have that fear, I am also taking responsibility for my health and safety- and those of the ones I work with. I believe I am safe but I also need to respect what lying or omission potentially does to the psyche when ones values are based on authenticity and mutual respect in the health care relationship
When I started my health care studies- one instructor was really archaic in believing my mental health needs were not current and if they were- would mean I could not become a health care professional. This impinged my ability to access disability services. I was fully into battle mode and it triggered a form of PTSD/ burn out in my mind. So now with that experience under my belt so to speak- I find identity and comfort in educating others about high functioning persons with lived experiences of mental illness being successful mental health providers and medical practitioners.
I know I may have seemed to underestimate those on RYL who are examples of those with lived experiences either working or studying in the health care field- so I apologize. However, most of it has been my struggle to accept my right to study mental health specialty and also identify as a patient/ client/ service user/ consumer.
Thank you for your patience with me.
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