Communicating with Mentally Ill Clients

Different types of mental illness will determine how well clients are able to communicate.  Treat each client as an individual.  Tailor your style of communication to the situation. Use the following guidelines to communicate with clients who are mentally ill.

  • Do not talk to adults as if they were children.
  • Use simple, clear statements and a normal tone of voice.
  • Be sure that what you say and how you say it shows respect and concern.
  • Sit or stand at a normal distance from the client. Be aware of your body language.
  • Be honest and straightforward, as you would with any client.
  • Avoid arguments.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Listen carefully.