Once again, research reveals a healthcare setting where professionals are supposed to be trained to help those with mental deficiencies. But something is wrong here. This is not comparable with Cuckoo's Nest, but it reflects bad management, which leads - at the very least - to poor service at the patient level, and at worst, brutal abuses of the kind that were seen in Cuckoo's Nest.
Doctors, nurses and medical students in nursing and doctor training are pivotal actors in the fight to detect, prevent, and somehow manage substance abuse among patients; that is a given when it comes to mental health services across the board. But in London a recent study reveals that "...many doctors and nurses can have a negative attitude towards the management of drug and alcohol problems" of patients and of their own community of professionals (O'Gara, et al., 2005, p. 328). Doctors themselves "are at special risk of developing addiction problems," the article explains, due to the "stress of medical practice and the erosion of the taboo against injecting and opiates" (O'Gara. 328).
The article reflects a study in which data were collected from 164 professionals (including psychiatric doctors, psychiatric nurses, medical students and nursing students) working in a hospital in England that teaches psychiatric care. Obviously these professionals and students were not receiving the proper training in their field, which could (and likely does) result in poor care out in the real world mental health facilities. For example, 72.2% said they had received some training in "illicit drug misuse" but only 29.4% acknowledged receiving any "clinical training" in this genre. Also, 79.4% admitted getting some "theoretical" training in Alcohol abuse, but just 36.8% said they received "clinical training" (O'Gara, 330).
When asked if they felt they were given "sufficient resources to deal with alcohol and drug misuse..." 77.1% of the nurse respondents said alcohol was an important part of their work, only 57.4% considered drug issues and addictions "as part of their current work" (O'Gara, 331). Many believe that substance abuse is part of their training but also said that they "did not have sufficient resources to deal with those issues..." (O'Gara, 332). Worse yet, on page 333 O'Grady reports that "...some psychiatrists reported receiving no training in substance misuse at all." This is clearly a case not so much of control freaks setting a military or fascist tone in an institution, but it is rather a case where healthcare professions in the field of psychiatry are not receiving the training they need, which could lead to the lack of competence in a facility where care is vital.
In conclusion, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, "In some countries, people are locked away in traditional mental hospitals" (WHO, 2005) without regard to the seriousness of their illness. While in those hospitals, people are "continuously shackled and routinely beaten" because some believe mental illness is "evil" and the afflicted are "possessed by bad spirits." In other situations, children are tied to their beds, "lying in soiled beds and clothing" for extended periods. Forty percent of countries "have no mental health policy" and 64% of countries have little or no mental health legislation, the WHO asserts. What is needed here in every country on earth is new leadership to present enlightened policies and educate the citizens about the need to humanely treat those with emotional and mental disabilities.
Associated Press. (2008). "Chinese paper: Gov't critics sent to mental wards."
International Herald Tribune. Retrieved December 7, 2008, at http://www.iht.com.
Gold, Stanley. "One flew over the cuckoo's nest." Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 37.1 (2003): 115-118.
Feargal, Kelleher, Michael, & Strang, John. "Substance misuse training among Psychiatric doctors, psychiatric nurses, medical students and nursing students in a South London Psychiatric teaching hospital." Drugs: education, prevention and policy
Plianbangchang, Samlee. "A Systematic Approach to Developing and Implementing
Mental Health Legislation." World Health Organization / SEARO. Retrieved December 8, 2008, at http://www.searo.who.int/linkfiles/RD_speeches_06dec04.pdf.
Smith, Craig. (2005). "Abuse of Electroshock Found in Turkish Mental Hospitals." The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2008, at http://www.nytimes.com.