Who can I talk too?
Here are some people who you may be able to talk to while in hospital. They may help you to get your views heard and your rights respected or they may just help answer some of your questions or listen to you if you are worried about something.
You can talk to a member of your team. Your team may include some or all of the following people:
They are your main support while at the unit. Hopefully you will be able to build a strong and trusting relationship with them. They can help voice your views but may not be able to advocate for you if they have a different idea of what is best
Your doctor at the unit, though you may also have a different one when you are at home. They have overall responsibility for your treatment at the unit and you can talk to them about being more involved in your care and treatment.
The people you will see most of when you are in hospital will be the nurses. You may find that you get on with one or more of them, and will find it easy to talk to them.
If you have a social worker they have a responsibility to listen to your views and to look out for your ‘best interests’. They will help you look at what things in your life at home may need to change for you to feel better. Sometimes they will be able to advocate (speak up) for you, but not always because what they think is best for you may not be what you think.
A person whose job is to provide therapy usually by talking through your problems. Over time they will hopefully be able to help you find new ways of looking at what is happening to you and things that you might do to feel better.
Another person you may meet in hospital who may be encouraging and help you get involved in activities on the unit. You might also find it easy to talk to them.
There may be other people that you can talk to, for example, other young people you might meet on the unit.
Friends can sometimes speak up for you and support you and your rights, and sometimes not so much. If you have a friend you trust then they can be a good person to talk to, especially if you feel like they understand you. This could be another young person you have met on the unit or it could be a friend from home.
Family members can sometimes be very good advocates and sometimes not so good at all. It depends on whether or not they agree with your views and what information they have. They usually want you to just be happy and feel better. Sometimes they will go along with your doctor and/or team decisions and sometimes they may disagree.
An independent advocate is someone who is separate from the hospital and social services and can help you to put your side of things across to those involved in your treatment.
Anyone can advocate for you but an independent advocate can do so without any conflict of interest. They are committed to supporting your views and no one else’s so can always be a good source of unbiased information, support and rights. Unfortunately independent advocates for young people are not always available in Ireland, that’s why the toolkit has been created to help you advocate for yourself. Always ask if an independent advocate is available on the unit.
The Inspector of Mental Health Services
The Inspector of Mental Health Services and his/her team visit every approved centre once a year. While on a visit, they talk to staff and people on the unit about the service and care and treatment that are provided.
Their job is to make sure that you are being looked after properly while in hospital and are getting proper care and treatment. Some of the things they look at when visiting a hospital are:
• Care and treatment planning.
• That there are suitable recreational activities.
• That you are given enough information.
• That your privacy is respected at all times.
You can ask to talk to the Inspector or an Assistant Inspector if there is something you want to say, but only if they visit the unit while you are staying there.