Teaching mentally ill patients to perform a skill may be the best form of therapy for them, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital’s Dalin branch therapist Lin Shang-feng (林尚峰) said yesterday.
According to the hospital’s psychiatric division chief Tung Chun-liang (董俊良), mentally ill patients tend to have a difficult time relaxing in public because of the ostracizing looks that people sometimes give them.
To encourage mentally ill patients to go outdoors and interact with people, the division has been encouraging them to participate in talent contests, Tung said, adding that two patients have performed exceptionally well.
When the Eight Southern Area Health of Mind Competition was held in Chiayi this year, out of seven patients that the hospital sent, one was crowned champion in the musical instrument group, while another advanced to a high round in the singing group.
This kind of interaction is good for patients at the psychiatric division because they rarely have the chance to interact with people. As a result they tend to close themselves off from the world, Lin said.
Through these competitions, mentally ill patients can learn how to better interact with the outside world, while preparing for the competitions helps patients concentrate, which in turn helps their condition, Lin said.
“We are happy to see patients demonstrate bravery when stepping onto the stage and the public affirmation they receive as a result,” Lin said.
“We are sure that this method of therapy is the best approach for the patients, and throughout the process we are glad to see that they are also slowly improving in their interactions with others,” he said.