Free Resources

This page will, over time, become a little library of free resources by yours truly for people who are suffering from mental illness or those who love them. You may share or distribute these resources however you like, but please acknowledge where you got them from 🙂

The first installment is for those who find out a friend or family member is in a psychiatric hospital …

“They’re where?

Finding out a friend or loved one has been admitted, or has admitted themselves, to a psychiatric hospital can be confronting news, especially if – as is often the case – it is surprising news. Unfortunately, mental health isn’t always easy to deal with, so sometimes we can be shocked to learn that someone’s struggle has reached the point where a hospital or clinic admission is the best option.

I know that we might not want to visit people in psychiatric hospitals, because we don’t know what it will be like, we have no idea what to talk about, and we’re not even sure whether our friend or loved one will want to see us.

My advice – for what it’s worth! – is to ring ahead to see if the patient is able to receive visitors, and if so, to check that they want to see you, and when. If the staff say they are allowed to receive visitors, but they say they don’t want to see you, try not to take it as a personal insult. They could be needing a bit of “time out” from the world, or may be expecting a visit from their doctor, or have group therapy obligations.

If you do decide to visit, here are two resources for you:

Conversation Topics

It can be very difficult to know what to talk about when visiting a patient in a psych ward. Here is a list of suggested conversation topics, things you might ask about, and topics I suggest you avoid. Of course, these are general suggestions, and may not be suited for all people. To download the .pdf file, click here.

Gift Suggestions

You can still express you care and concern for a psychiatric inpatient through flowers or other gifts, just as you would a patient in a general hospital, provided you adhere to the rules of the facility they’re staying in. Always check with staff before giving anything to a psych inpatient. Having said that, you can download a list of suggested gifts and other useful items your friend or loved one may need here.

Jul to Dec 2010 580

Newsletter: Dysthymia Bree’s ‘Best of the Best’

Don’t you hate remembering that you read about a great resource somewhere, and spending ages trawling through blogs and searching comments, trying to find it again? That drives me up the wall! So I thought I’d collate and send out a newsletter with what I think are the ‘best of the best’ posts, blogs, websites and resources.

I respect your inbox, so you’ll only hear from me very occasionally, and it goes without saying that I’ll never sell, share, rent or otherwise misuse your email address. Naturally each newsletter will arrive with an easy “Unsubscribe” option, too.

If you’d like to sign up, complete this form, and please feel free to let me know any particular topics which interest you:

11 responses to “Free Resources

  1. Pingback: Free Resources | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  2. This is a fantastic idea, thank you so much for putting this together


  3. What a great idea! I’m never sure how to answer when someone asks me if I need anything. Always asked with only the best intentions I know, but sometimes its tempting to respond with “If I knew what I needed, I probably wouldn’t be here.”


    • Hah! Yes, I’ve been in that situation, too 🙂 After all, when we’re in extremis, we’re not thinking straight by definition, right? Let alone having all those quirks firing away inside our heads.
      Next time I’m ‘in’, if anyone asks, I’ll be wanting flowers, pictures, and BluTac (so I can pin notes to myself around my bed)


  4. Great post! When I visit friends I like to bake things for them (if food is allowed). It shows I’ve been thinking of them and hospital food is usually awful. I also bring books if they are up to reading but graphic novels are usually appreciated even when reading is hard.
    My list of things I need usually includes food and cigarettes. While smoking is obviously not good for me, nicotine withdrawal on top of a mental health crisis is really not good!


    • Thanks, Lauren 🙂 Yes, we all know that smoking isn’t good for us, and I’m eternally grateful that I’ve never been hooked – my husband is a chronic smoker, and life just keeps getting more difficult for him. I mean, I want him to stop smoking very much, but know that it isn’t easy when you’ve been addicted for decades. I remember writing a post about the smoker’s courtyard at hospital: it was the one upside I could see to smoking – they always had the goss!!! 😉 But no, I could never take cigarettes to an inpatient. I won’t even buy them for my husband. Sounds mean, but he understands where I’m coming from.


  5. It’s a difficult one and I can definitely see where you are coming from. I wouldn’t dream of asking my mum to bring cigarettes (not that she would). My friends haven’t exactly been happy about bringing me cigarettes but they have because they believed that as I had the right to smoke outside of hospital I should also have the right to smoke in hospital (in the smoking area outside with all the gossip 😉 ).


    • Yes, I probably sound a bit of a hard-ass! Look, I just have this policy of not buying cigarettes, not even for my husband; it’s just something I do. I have accompanied a friend who was in hospital but didn’t have unaccompanied leave to go buy smokes. If I had a friend or loved one in hospital who needed cigarettes, would I take them some? Probably. But I’d get my husband to buy them for me 🙂


  6. Totally with you and you don’t sound like a hard-ass 🙂 Thankfully I haven’t had to put any of my friends in that position for a long time. I am free to take a stroll to the shops to decrease my life span these days 😉


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