Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had a chance to see my cousin who I grew up with (and who has schizophrenia) and aunt. I later emailed my aunt asking for some feedback about good/bad psychiatrists they have dealt with over the years (it's been a really long road for them). Here's what she said: (oddly, it closely parallels this article from the ny times today) "I have a lot of complaints about psych docs. Most of them are common sense things: 1. docs not listening and not answering questions in simple terms, such as why can't you give a diagnosis now? It was explained very clearly to me and I knew that the label didn't matter because the symptoms were the things being treated no matter what its called. Some people, especially nervous loved ones, want to wrap their brains around something. 2. being released from a facility without any help, advice, or list of resources. Be prepared with a packet of information of resources including web sites, books and organizations like NAMI. All physical conditions are sent home with a sheet of instructions and danger signs etc. If you think about what physical illnesses need emotionally, its the same for mental illness. I have never had any advice except if he gets violent, call the police. that's it. not good, valid but not enough. so scary This was the biggest complaint. It doesn't happen in physical medicine. 3. do everything to involve the family or support system. They are your biggest source of information and support for the consumer, assuming that they are good of course. 4. advise them to get a second opinion. I heard a lecture at "BMS" and loved hearing a psychiatrist say get a second opinion. 5. Tell the family or loved ones to educate themselves about the illness whether its through books, or organizations. It is a huge benefit to your patient. They need to learn how to communicate with their loved ones, and why they are acting the way they do and the fact that its no one's fault. Education is huge." Thanks Aunt Betty!