Becoming and staying healthy requires daily attention to your body and what it needs. You can control your diet and exercise, which are both essential contribute greatly to good health. You can also get recommended vaccines, and practice hand washing and safe sex to ward off contagious illnesses. Even so, sometimes you’ll need medical care, or may want to get a regular exam just to check in with your health professional (doctor, nurse, dentist).
When you do visit your medical doctor, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse or any other health/mental health professional, you’re entitled to be treated in a certain way.
Some of your rights as a patient or client include:
- Honesty. You have a right to receive all available and accurate information about your mental and physical health from your provider so you are able to make educated decisions about your care.
- Control over your treatment. You have the right to make decisions about your care, and to be supported by friends and family in your decision-making process.
- Choice. You have the freedom to choose whomever you want to be treated by.
- Respect. You have the right to receive care that’s respectful of you and your background, religious beliefs, cultural needs and values. Health care providers should never discriminate against you based on your gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or ability.
- Confidentiality. You have the right to talk with your health care provider and know that everything you say will be kept confidential; your privacy is protected by law!
- Speedy care. You have the right to receive prompt treatment.
Dealing with disabilities and/or chronic illness
If you have a disability or chronic illness that is permanent or lasts a long-time, it may affect your quality of life. Learning how to manage it can minimize its effects. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you are first diagnosed with a chronic condition. It may be the first time that you have had to think seriously about your health and about the future and can be a big adjustment.
Knowing information about your condition, your long-term outlook and how to live with it may make you feel more comfortable and in control. Find good supports among friends, family, medical specialists, your local doctor, counselor or other mental health professional, or another person with the illness or disability.
Acknowledgement: Portions of this fact sheet were originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com. It was adapted from WeRNative.org,
a website for Native Youth by Native Youth
Many articles in this section were adapted from WeRNative.org, a website for Native Youth by Native Youth