An informal study of visits to an inpatient psychiatric unit by former patients indicated that such visiting was a common occurrence, more prevalent than staff realized. Most ex-patient visitors were chronically impaired individuals who were making a marginal community adjustment and did not use aftercare services. Of 29 expatient visitors, some of whom made multiple and even daily visits, more than half appeared to use the visits as an indirect, symbolic way of asking for help. For some the brief contacts with treatment personnel seemed to have therapeutic value. The authors suggest that, although such visits may be troublesome to staff, expatient visitors should be welcomed and offered informal brief supportive contacts when feasible.