David Baldwin wasn’t sure how he had come across the other day in group therapy at the hospital, near the co-op apartment where he lives with his rescue cat, Zoey. He struggles with bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and depression. Like so many patients, he secretly wondered what his therapist thought of him.
But unlike those patients, Mr. Baldwin, 64, was able to find out, swiftly and privately. Pulling his black leather swivel chair to his desk, he logged onto a hospital website and eagerly perused his therapist’s session notes.
The clinical social worker, Stephen O’Neill, wrote that Mr. Baldwin’s self-consciousness about his disorder kept him isolated. Because he longed to connect with others, this was particularly self-defeating, Mr. O’Neill observed. But during the session, he had also discussed how he had helped out neighbors in his co-op.
“This seems greatly appreciated, and he noted his clear enjoyment in helping others,” Mr. O’Neill wrote. “This greatly assists his self-esteem.”
Read Jan Hoffman’s article about open notes and mental health on the New York Times website.