Psychiatric patients receive fewer Get Well Soon cards

Psychiatric inpatients receive around two times fewer “Get Well Soon” cards than patients on other wards.

This is largely because psychiatric inpatients have less friends, are ashamed of their diagnosis, and people believe it is unlikely they will recover, according to a paper in this month’s Psychiatric Bulletin journal.

The study compared general inpatients at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Northern General Hospital with psychiatric inpatients at Sheffield Care Trust.

The psychiatric patients had received 2-3 greeting cards on average, while other patients had received 4-6 cards, the study found.

The paper’s authors – Sudheer Lankappa, a lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Sheffield, and Sean Spence, professor of general adult psychiatry also of the University of Sheffield, wrote: “Even such a simple social transaction as the giving and receiving of a greetings card exposes the discontinuity between the world of the general hospital patient and that of the psychiatric in-patient.

“It suggests that despite a contemporary emphasis upon ‘care in the community’, integration, and the reduction of stigma…following their admission to hospital, psychiatric in-patients are indeed treated differently to others; and this treatment implicates those who are ‘closest’ to them.”

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