Mental illness causes communication barriers
World Mental Health Day, recognized on Oct. 10, serves as a day of education and advocacy for mental health disorders. Dr. Isabelle Bauman, associate professor of communication at Missouri State University, spent a sabbatical in spring 2013 synthesizing research on how interpersonal communication changes when someone has a mental health disorder and how mental health is discussed in American culture and society.
“Having a mental health disorder does make a difference. It changes the way the person communicates,” said Bauman. “And if you go into the interaction expecting a regular communication process, you’re going to be confused, frustrated, anxious and upset.”
Even though she already had a doctoral degree in communication, Bauman went back to school to complete a master’s degree in counseling, during which she began seeing clients. “I got interested in how their (clients’) communication was subtly different than other people’s communication that I had seen and studied. And I began to wonder whether it was unique to them or consistent to their disorder,” added Bauman.
Her research will result in a book outlining communication processes for those suffering from a variety of mental disorders.
For more information, contact Bauman at (417) 836-4830.
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