BJPsych Bulletin
Psychiatric in-patients receive fewer greetings cards than other in-patients
Sudheer Lankappa, Sean A. Spence

Abstract

AIMS AND METHOD

Greetings cards (wishing patients well) appear less abundant on psychiatric wards than other inpatient facilities. We tested this hypothesis in three cross-sectional surveys of teaching hospitals in Sheffield.

RESULTS

On each occasion, psychiatric wards contained significantly fewer card recipients (χ2 test, P<0.001). Individual recipients in psychiatric wards received significantly fewer cards than recipients in general hospitals (Kruskal-Wallis test, P<0.05).

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS

Although receiving a card might seem a trivial matter, it nevertheless denotes the outcome of an altruistic act, which may be appreciated by its recipient. Psychiatric in-patients receive fewer such acts of kindness than other in-patients. These data concur with other recent reports suggesting that the stigma of mental illness extends to expressions of altruism.

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