Patient Rights by Mental Health Advocate Nikki StoneBy
Please join me in welcoming Nikki Stone, Mississippi Mental Health Advocate, as she shares a personal experience of being devalued harassed, neglected and psychologically abused by the mental health system and the resulting breakdown. ~ I hope that you will share your own stories and reactions in the comments section. Darlene
Patient Rights ~ by Nikki Stone
In my own experience with the mental health facilities in the state of Mississippi I was not very well informed of my own personal rights. It was not until I took the Peer to peer course in 2008 that NAMI provides that I realized that I have rights first as a person needing medical treatment and second as a patient.
When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder in 2003 I did not get a word of encouragement about treatment or the essential tools of recovery. Instead I was told to meet with a group of others who had just been diagnosed, like myself. We sat and listened while a nurse went into details what the medications could do to us. To me it was traumatic and to add to it I had no community support.
The next day I was ushered in to see the doctor who had never met me before but by the time I walked thru the door to the makes-shift office she already had a treatment plan. The reason I was there in the first place was to adjust my medicine, which could not been done as an out patient. I had agreed to go and was prepared to receive treatment; we could not get the medication to help alleviate the deep depression on outpatient treatment. At that point I sat and listen to the doctor but when she got thru telling me what she wanted to put me on (which would have made me an absolute zombie) I knew I had to take a stand for myself so I refused the treatment and told her I wanted to sign myself out of the hospital.
During the whole 24 hour ordeal I was never given a hospital bracelet and they continuously got my name wrong even though I had written it on all the forms etc. I remember at one point sitting in the day room and there was a woman sitting near me. She and I had talked and she asked me if I would do her a favor. Not sure of what the favor was yet I told her I would. She asked me to take a look at her hip that it was bothering her. As she lowered her jogging pants slightly I looked at her hip and it look like hamburger meat I asked her what happen and she said they had been giving her a lot of shots. To be honest in my opinion the veins in her hip looked as though they were destroyed. I was able to leave after a 24 hour ordeal of harassment and neglect. By the time I got home I was a basket case seven months later in January of 2007 I had a nervous breakdown and the nervous breakdown caused damage to my frontal lobe area of my brain, I now have petit mal seizures.
This could have totally destroyed me but it hasn’t; I am now an active Mental Health Advocate in my state.
Nikki is also a gifted photographer; please check out her beautiful pictures at