In order to increase my understanding about schizophrenia beyond literature, I visited Mercy Hospital in New York which has a mental health services ward. Prior to this experience, my only encounter with schizophrenia was my friend’s grandmother who struggled with schizophrenia for many years. She would express her belief that she thought I was involved in some sort of government organization and remained wary of me every time I visited her house. Until visiting Mercy Hospital, I was unaware of what people with schizophrenia were going through. My lack of education on the subject allowed me to unfairly judge people with mental illnesses. At Mercy Hospital I was able to see first-hand how mental patients were being cared for today.
I feel that by talking to the nurses and doctors who worked here and dealt with patients with mental illness on a daily basis in addition to the literature I had read I was able to increase my own personal awareness about mental illness and what it truly entails. I was told by the nurses that patients are often wary of the nurses and the medication they’re given because of the paranoia associated with schizophrenia. Many of the patients feel as though they aren’t sick and the medication is part of some sort of plot, imagined as a result of paranoid delusions common in schizophrenia. Visiting Mercy Hospital also allowed me to see how the conditions patients are living under have changed over the years. In the past the conditions were described as filthy and dismal. From what I observed at Mercy Hospital, the patients seemed mostly well taken care of. They seemed to have adequate stimulation and access to antipsychotic medication. I believe that the quality of care for mental patients seems to be improving over time. Hopefully increased awareness will help conditions continue to progress.