Public Affairs Associate
Brooklyn, NY – November 23, 2010 – Everyone feels irritable or unhappy sometimes. But, for some people, these bad feelings last longer than they should. As the protagonist in the recently released movie “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”--could tell you, that “bad feeling” may be depression. The film chronicles the main character’s battle with depression and his subsequent recovery after being admitted to the adult psychiatric unit at a nearby hospital.
Unlike some popular depictions of psychiatric units, where patients wear straitjackets, are isolated and treated with contempt by the staff, the patients at the hospital depicted in the film take music and art therapy, receive support from the staff, have social events and generally engage each other as they move through the recovery process.
Viewers who think this sounds like a fictitious place, only encountered in the movies, should think again. The movie is an adaptation of Ned Vizzini's young adult novel of the same title, which was inspired by the author’s own real-life experience as a patient at New York Methodist Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit. And the music and art therapy, social gatherings and community support all actually occur at the Park Slope hospital.
“We recognize that a lot of the healing process takes place through interaction with other patients,” said Linda Perez, R.N., N.P.P., administrative director of neurosciences at New York Methodist. “We’ve created a warm, respectful and supportive environment where our patients can interact, not only with our expert nursing staff, but also with each other.
“People think of psychiatric units and they automatically associate them with being locked-up like a criminal,” said Ms. Perez. “Our unit is nothing like that. Our staff members recognize that the people who come to us for help have lost control over a significant part of their lives. We work to stabilize our patients and help them to develop new coping skills.”
“We are very proud, not only of the range of services we offer but also of our excellent facilities, and innovative special programs from ECT and advanced pharmacotherapy to pet therapy,” said Jessy Colah, M.D., chief of psychiatry at NYM. The Hospital’s 50-bed psychiatric includes 25 beds designated for geriatric psychiatry and a separate 25-bed unit for adult psychiatry. In addition to a range of current psychotherapeutic techniques, New York Methodist’s services include group psychotherapy and activity therapies, neuropsychological assessments, programs tailored to seniors who may be dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other health issues, and outpatient services that include both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.
The character in “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” begins the healing process when he decides to visit the emergency room because he has suicidal thoughts. Dr. Colah remarked that this sets a wonderful example for young people and people of all ages suffering from deep depression. “In both the book and the film, we see positive results when the main character admits that he needs help and seeks it in the right place.”
For information about mental health services at New York Methodist Hospital, call 718.780.3771.
New York Methodist Hospital
New York Methodist Hospital (NYM), a voluntary, acute-care teaching facility located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, houses 651 inpatient beds (including bassinets) and provides services to over 36,000 inpatients each year. An additional 300,000 outpatient visits and services are logged annually. The Hospital, founded in 1881, has undergone extensive renovation and modernization over the years. NYM offers Institutes in the following areas: Advanced and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Asthma and Lung Disease; Cancer Care; Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery; Digestive and Liver Disorders; Diabetes and Other Endocrine Disorders; Vascular Medicine and Surgery; Family Care; Neurosciences; Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery and Women’s Health. New York Methodist Hospital is affiliated with the Weill Cornell Medical College and is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System.