The life situation of a long-term psychiatric patient: some restrictions in, and possibilities of, open care



This paper describes and analyses, from a sociocultural viewpoint, the ways of life of discharged long-term psychiatric patients in northern Finland The paper focuses on subjectivity control of life and fundamental experiences in life The data consist of interviews with 25 outpatients who have moved to live in residential homes, rehabilitation centres or their own homes after receiving preparatory training in the psychiatric hospital The findings suggest that the way of life of the outpatients did not significantly differ from that of other people belonging to the same generation of Finns With respect to control of life, a conspicuous feature was the strong tendency to let themselves be led by others, and to self-sacrifice for the good of others For the patients, independence was the best aspect of open care Fear for being branded as a psychiatric case or as a former mental patient threatened the patients’external control of life The central element of control of life of the Finns is work The outpatients thought work a matter of honour and they did not find their present, inactive way of life satisfactory