If we are able to, we can consider asking a trusted person to come with us to our appointment. We can also consider asking them to take an active role. This can look like having them read out any questions we may have or advocating with us if practitioners dismiss our concerns. Here is what one person shared with us about having someone with them:
“It’s nice to have someone there because it’s calming. I also feel stronger in my voice. If somebody else is there to witness the healthcare provider’s interaction with me, and I’m advocating for my needs, I feel that I’m a lot less likely to be brushed off or to have the healthcare professional argue with me or try and tell me differently because someone is there witnessing.”
In some cases, we have found advocacy support with other patients. Here are one person’s experiences with patient solidarity in a psychiatric ward.
“I went in when I was 17 the first time, which is younger than is even supposed to be allowed in any of these wards. And so many people took me under their wing and were like ‘Okay, we’re all kind of fucked up here. But we can all protect each other.’ It really changed everything.”