The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals


Movies, advertisements, and often celebrities do not portray how hospitals for psychiatric patients really are.

I do not want to deter people from getting help when they need it. I just want to change the perception that many people have who have never been hospitalized for a psychiatric reason.

Many times, people are treated with disrespect and like animals. They are often neglected, abused, and don’t get the help they desperately need. Many times they are given medications for the sole purpose of getting them to be quiet and not give the staff trouble and to make their jobs easier. Nobody wants to hear what the patient says that may work and what medications would help. Many patients could be helped by art therapy, group sessions, educational classes, exercise class and more. However, the reality is that these are not very frequent. It has been my experience that nothing is hardly ever done on the weekends. What hospitals and a lot of staff don’t realize is that this is not helping the patients. Not that it should matter if someone is on medicaid, has no insurance or has a lot of insurance, but I can tell you that even if you have insurance, you are not treated any differently.

Patients are left to fend for themselves, given nothing to do and many times are scared due to the behavior of other patients.  If you look at the Calendar of Events, you would think that the place keeps the patients busy and offers a lot to them to help with their mental illness. However. those calenders are, in my opinion, to pass the requirements from the state or whoever approves funding and have never really seen them followed.

There is always a patient’s bill of rights posted in the hospital. However, I could easily go through each right and easily tell a story about how about 85% of those rights have been violated in my case.

I had my first experience with poor treatment at the age of 17. I make others know when I think others or myself are being treated incorrectly.  I, at that age, was approached by a lawyer who wanted me to help him help others by improving the conditions in mental hospitals.

Since that hospitalization, I have endured and witnessed so many awful things in hospitals I have lost track.  Partly, it is there is a limited amount of faculty and they do the best they can.  In my case, I had insurance and was put in the “better” hospitals, but also at times due to availability was placed in a state run facility. In no way am I saying those without insurance should get less care than those who do and it is shameful that for the most part that it is true.

Sharing Some of the Things that Have Happened to me While In Psychiatric Facilities:

  • I was having serious pain due to problems that were medical. Because of the pain, I was not getting enough sleep and this evolved into a manic phase so I was also needing psychiatric care. I actually asked for help with my bipolar disorder and wanted to be admitted voluntarily. I have had serious medical issues before including pancreatitis, heart problems that required a stay in icu, severe stomach problems, had to have my gall bladder removed, and more. That pain was probably the worst I have ever had. I told the nurse that I was in pain. She said to me, “You are not in pain, you are crazy.”
  • Another time, I was put in a psychiatric facility due to having problems with my bipolar disorder and voluntarily went to the hospital, but also had gone to the ER due to pain. At the hospital, I threw up several times, could not keep anything down, and was in pain. I let the nurses know and they send a medical doctor. He just said I was fine without running any tests or examining me. I was still in pain so I called the administrator of the hospital and let her know I wanted to see a different doctor. The same doctor came again and said I was fine and to stop bothering him. My pain was just in my head. Well, within a week after being discharged from that hospital, I had to have my gall bladder removed.
  • While at one hospital, I was sick most likely due to the meds I was given. I fell asleep lying down by the toilet. I woke up to one of the staff saying. “Is she dead.”
  • At that same hospital, an elderly lady who obviously had Alzhieimer;s  She would keep going into patient’s rooms thinking her deceased husband was in there.  She almost fell more than 5 times. If it weren’t for the other patients watching her, she would have fallen.
  • In yet another hospital, although it was on my allergy list because it caused me to have tardive dyskenisa and dystonia  (Involuntary movements and where I could not hold up my head, respectively.) I told them and they gave it to me anyway and I did start having those involuntary movements.
  • The list goes on and in my next blog, I am going to go through the patient’s bill of rights and explain how I did not have them.
  • At one hospital, they did not empty the trash or dust or wash the floor in more than 5 days. If I was in a “regular” part of the hospital, there is no way that would have happened.
  • When you ask for something from a staff member at many facilities you are viewed as a trouble maker and/or told to leave them alone. I have seen staff play video games or talk to each other rather than help patients.
  • As you probably have noticed, I often had medical problems that came along with my bipolar disorder. My last hospitalization, I woke up where I could not walk on my feet due to them being swollen and really cracked. At home, I have learned to apply vaseline and wrap them. However, it needed a doctor’s approval. I understand why they couldn’t do it that night, but three days later it had gotten so  bad, that my legs swelled up so much that my mom who is a nurse was very concerned and demanded that something be done. That night, I also could not go the restroom.  The nurses were aware of that too and it took them days to do something about that too. By the time my mom had insisted they do something about that, I had to have a procedure done to help.
  • They moved me into another room that night. I had no part in them moving my things. There were 4 things missing that I knew right away and they would not look for them. They never did locate them.  In addition they lost my keys and cell phone  I had on me when I was admitted. It took them a few days to finally find those.
  • During that stay, there was nothing for anyone to do so we just talked to other patients. You have to realize there are all kinds of people there and the smallest thing can set them off which can be very scary.
  • Often times the staff has no idea what is going on with all their patients. For example, I have observed male patients go into female patients and vice-versa. Although, this is strictly forbidden for obvious reasons, they don’t pay attention and it happens way more than it should.
  • While I understand that some of the staff working in psychiatric facilities do their best and do care, there are so many who don’t. It is one thing to be too busy giving out meds or dealing with an unruly patient and not being able to do what they are supposed to do for the other patients. It is another when a staff person is playing games on their phone, talking to friends or family on the phone for an excessive amount of time, and staff persons talking to each other and often times making fun of the patients.

You are probably thinking that I am making this up as so much of it is really unbelievable. However, I assure you, they are all true.

  • The last time I was in the hospital, I had a roommate who kept taking my stuff and moving it into her dresser. I told staff and they did nothing.  I also witnessed a man going into a female’s room. I told the staff about it and to my knowledge they didn’t talk to them as I saw the same thing happen again.
  • At one hospital, there was a nurse who did not like me. He was trying to give me a medicine that I had consulted with my doctor about and we agreed I should not take it. The nurse knew that it would knock me out and therefore leave him alone to play video games on his phone. He insisted I took it and was yelling at me so I took it. The next day I woke up to bruises where they shouldn’t be. The only way they could have been there is if someone put them there. Later another bruise was found that appeared to be a bite mark. I expressed my concern and the hospital had to call in the police and they had to do a rape kit and questioned me at the police department after I was discharged.  It is scary to believe that something happened and I may never know. There were no cameras to prove or disprove the allegations.  However, I do know he was fired.
  • Another time I was given a medication that was on my allergy list and after they realized their mistake, I had administrators visit my room asking to keep my mouth shut, basically.

These examples just touch the surface of my bad experiences. I know that I am not the only one out there who has had similar things happen to them as I have had others share with me the horrible things they have endured.

I pay the same amount to be hospitalized in a psychiatric facility as I do as the medical part of a hospital, however the care I receive is so different.  It angers me and hurts to know that this is true.

The way people with mental illnesses are treated in mental institutions is atrocious and something needs to be change. Granted, we have come a long way since the “insane” were locked up into asylums and restrained and given lobotomies.  So much more needs to happen, however.

No one should be treated like mentally ill patients are treated.  They shouldn’t be treated that way and definitely not allowed to continue. There needs to be sensitivity training and more staff needs to be hired so the ones who are doing their jobs are not overwhelmed.

I hope that I have showed you how the media, movies, celebrities are not a good example of the reality of what psychiatric facilities. Please know that not all hospitals are bad and not all staff is inconsiderate and awful. They aren’t. However, it’s been my experience that there a lot more bad ones than good ones.

Patients with mental illnesses should be treated with dignity and respect. They should not receive less care in a psychiatric facility than they would in a medical part of  a hospital.  There is no way that society should accept that this goes on and something needs to be done to expose the problems I have mentioned and so many more not included.


Please note: If you need to go to the hospital, know that all hospitals are not like this and do not let this deter you.  If you need help, let a friend or loved one know, a doctor, or go the ER.

60 thoughts on “The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals

  1. It seems that poor mental health care is a world wide thing. It is scary that in countries such as US and Australia (where I live) that in 2013 the mentally ill are still treated like animals. It was scary that through reading your post, there was no point that I found any of unbelievable.

    • Treated like animals is definently right. I am 14 and I went to a mental hospital and I was 13 at the time, I had been there for a year and a staff grabbed me and I bit him.
      You know how when a dog bites you or any other animal. Your suppose to push in the pull out because it makes them feel like they lose power. They tried to do that to me and guess what? It just pissed me off even more. I feel like I was nothing but a dog, pest, or lab rat to them

    • I was put in a phychiatric hospital run by catholic nuns.They treated me like a dog.A warden who is also a catholic nun(sister Vincy) kept dirty water next to drinking water.It was a horrible sight which caused me to vomit non stop for a year.A doctor named Shameer Moideen gave me citalopram which made my vomiting worse.The thing I learnt after my stay ina phychiatric hospital is that we are subhumans if we are mentally ill and we will be treated worse than animals if we are ever admitted to phychiatric hospitals.

    • Hi I’m Vylad.. I’m ten years old, I was thinking of going to one, because I suffer from depression (It’s starting to become really painful.. Its almost to the point of crippling depression) which has given me insomnia, that has put me into insane moments where I Actually think of killing people, I also have a multiple personality disorder, and level one Autism, (It just means I am socially awkward, I have enhanced senses and I don’t like to be told things over and over) I take a very big liking to weapons don’t know if that’s anything but I love weapons.. It isn’t much of a mental illness, it’s probably my brain saying your life is a joke, but when I feel pain or I get extremely sad I laugh, people do laugh about sadness.. .. I do have more things but I don’t remember their names…. I manage not too, but after reading this I don’t think I should go any more.. But I think my parents might eventually lead me into that fucking trap accidentally.. Thank you for reading

      • I too have had many similar experiences as you had. I have a couple of interesting ones to order. I was in the psych ward to be monitored while starting a new psych medication. My psychiatrist did not want me to be alone during the trial period as I have a serious fall disorder, where I fall without warning, usually breaking bones. To date I have had 26 fractures. I was mentally very stable, so I was well aware what was going on. The first problem came when I was admitted to the ward. My own psychiatrist had admitted me through energy as he was on call that night, covering for a colleague. I have a rather complex history and take many meds. Due to several Long term pain conditions, I take opioid painkillers 4tines per day. This was highlighted on my chart when I was admitted and all my usual meds were ordered. By the time I arrived on the floor, I had already missed one dose and close to the time to take my next dose. I was in alot of pain from hours of sitting in hard chairs. Upon arrival , I asked for my meds and gave them my blister pack. I was told no meds until the morning; at that time it would have been more than 12 hours since my last dose. I said that was not acceptable as that would start a withdrawal. I asked to speak to the head nurse who said what is the problem; we have some in our drawer and it was orders by the doctor. I got my meds. During the same stay, I observed a psych nurse who was admitted for a nervous breakdown, greet all the new patients as they came in and started counselling them. She still had her employee badge, so no one though anything was wrong. I asked about it at the nurses station; they had no idea she was doing this, so they talked to her and took away her badge. Since they go through everything, including a strip search, I do not know how the badge was missed. On a shift were the nurses were more interested in the phones than patients, a patient directly across from the nursing station managed to steal all the bedtime snacks for all the patients. There were needed as many meds cannot be taken without food. By the time the staff checked her room, she had almost 75 sandwiches stashed and none of the staff had even noticed. The poor care extended to the psychiatrists as well. When I finally saw him, he cut out many of my other meds without asking why I was on them. He immediately switched me to lithium, a med I would never let my bipolar kids be prescribed. I told him I did not want it, but that is what I got, not what my psychiatrist wanted me on. He treated me without any respect and did not listen to a word I said. I had my friend bring in a regional book that listed all the people that sat on the various boards; I was selected to sit on the Accessibility Advisory council. I showed him this and told him why I had been admitted and that I did not appreciate him messing with my other drug routine, which had taken years to find out what drugs I could take together and that worked. I was there for monitoring, not to have my life taken apart. I knew that this doctor had a reputation of treating female patients badly ( a cultural thing), so I told him that he would no longer be treating me and that he should stop treating females ( too long a story for here). Apparently he did stop and within a few months, he closed his practise without warning, stranding all his patients who needed their meds refilled.The next doctor was 100% better and restored my original meds. I have many other complaints / observations, and sent an 8 page letter to the administration reporting some of the crap going on, and suggestions to improve the ward. I was an advocate, so this is what I do. I never got any response, but I did notice when going to an outpatient meeting that some of my suggestions had been implicated. I will never get admitted again unless I am so manic that my health proxy does it for me. Since mental illnesses are just that, an illness, why can patients be given the same rights and the courtesy/ respect that other patients get!

  2. Pingback: I is for Inpatient | Musings of the Misguided

  3. Reblogged this on Exam Review Expert's NCLEX Blog and commented:
    This sounds horrendous, and I’d like to believe it’s not true. Any future psych nurses out there, take these stories as a warning. Half of these could have been prevented with some forethought and a listening ear.

  4. Hi!

    Thanks for the great blog post. I can confidently say it’s no better in the UK or in Australia. While I haven’t experienced such mistreatment myself, since I discharged myself after a couple of days on the two occasions that I checked in voluntarily because I thought I could do with some help.

    My experience in the UK, being advised to attend a residential psychiatric facility after admitting to suicidal thoughts, I was locked in a room – very luxurious, I have to admit – and left to my own devices for six hours, before anyone came to check on me. I was then told to wander round until I found someone to talk to or some activity I’d like to participate in, and the doctor would see me the following day. In the meantime, I had no phone, no money and no car keys. Just mindless TV, for hours and hours. Needless to say, the next day I claimed back my possessions and drove home.

    Several years later, having migrated to Australia (for a better life…), after being thrown out of a public hospital after an unsuccessful suicide attempt for taking up a bed meant for a needier, physically-ill person, friends checked me in to another facility. This time a series of well-meaning people woke me up when I was sleeping and left me alone when I was awake, without once offering me any food. Again, I discharged myself.

    These days, writing and my dog are my psychiatric facilities and they’re very helpful and cost-effective, even though I reach for the off-switch every day. Yes, I said it (see your previous blog!)!!

    Keep campaigning. Check out the lyrics for Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside So Strong”. It was written for black South Africans during the apartheid era, but it applies just as well to people like us…

    • I am sorry that you have endured this, but am also glad that you have fought and won. It is not easy and you will have set backs, but it sounds like you have a positive attitude and know that you can take care of yourself more than anyone else can. Please consider joining a group on Facebook I created called Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses Thanks for sharing the lyrics. THey really do apply here. I shared it in the group.

  5. I’m sorry to hear that your treatment at psychiatric hospitals has been so rough. It makes me feel like I was lucky; the last time I voluntarily admitted myself after a suicide attempt, I was put in a room with a multiple felon. The other patients on the unit were loud, angry, and sometimes frightening. But nothing particularly bad ever happened to me except for some lost sleep.

      • I was given the wrong dose of meds to start. I had a witness in the room who conformed that what i told the doctor was as claer as a bell and said 3 times. She got it wrong on purpose to cover her a&-*e and she didn’tbelieve i was on such a high dose. I was on the max recommended. As i am very tollerant to medication and i don’trespond to the lower doses i have explained this to EVERY phsician i see but they don’t listen or don’t want to. I guess they know best. Yeah right. I told a doctor that a medicaton can cause the other not to work or work double the power. Or if your unlucky all the side effects I experienced gross misconduct, theft and racism. I was also treated like i was not important. Only one person was real genuine and nice and professionial. I was in a place of peril at one point and i made them aware of this but nothing was done. I was not shown my care plan or talked about it. It in my opinion it is a factory to get em in and get em out. Medication ragimes were too strict and forcefull. Even though it made a minority of people better. We were not treated as individuals and the privacy window was left open after a check which left me exposed and this has been an issue before and put in writing but ignored. I never in my life thought a black person could be racist towards a white person but it happened. I was called a CHIEF. not to my face but as she turned her back. I could tell she didn’t like me because i am white with blond hair and blue eyes and i got a constant stare like she was having the worst day of her life. She was not comferable with my pressence. As she entered the staff quarters she muttered “chief” i come from tooting london and 90% of my friends are black and they told me their equivelent of the N word. And one is the word chief. And i’m sure she ment it like that because i asked her to get me my toilettries and break her routine which aggrevated the situation i guess. I once woke up at 5 and was hungry as the meds i’m on make you hungry. I was told off by a night worker in a scornfull tone that i shouldn’t be having this as breakfast is in 2hours. I couldn’t wait that long. Im sure nobody can it’s tourture. I also saw so many people on the wrong meds. It either made them sleep all day and not eat. Some paitents are diabetic too. So they need their food for blood sugar. I’m no chemist but i know a lot as i do a lot of research for meds and their effects. Staff nurses also gave me mis information which i know was wrong. I won’t go into detail. The night staff don’t want to do a thing somtimes checks were missed and i have some video evidence to back up some of my gripes. I know and understand why it’s innappropiate for filming devices to be used in a secure unit such as that but i didn’t use the phone in a manner deemed to be innappropriate. So i dont think that will be a problem. My main point after my long (and sorry for that). Rant is we were all treated like we had an iq of 30. Rather than human beings that we are but with some small and big ballence in our mental state. Some people are not wired right but thats not the point we are humans. And I and others were not treated that way by most. I took names of people who neglected me. One i asked for simple parcetamol for a severe headache. She proceeded to close the door of the med room not say a word to me and close the doors on me and ignored my knocks. I was suffering bad and she chose to sit with her feet up and chat with a college who was one of the ok ones. She sat their and picked the hard skin from the bottom of her feet then an hour or more later of me badly suffering she gave me two which worked in ten minutes but had been touched by her hands that had been picking her feet. I believe she done i’t out of dislike or disregard you can decide for your selfs what this place is like. It’s worse than prison or a police cell. Don’t get me wrong we have the odd luxuries and freedom to our own rooms. Which have perfect appliances with no problems. Things allways run right and if it’s broken it’s fixed in no time. But somone is a thief there,a racist and just plane rude and ignorant. The building and aminities are fine and some are better than home products. But my major problem is some of the staff and the way we were treated. One friend i made there who is one of the nicest blokes you will meet. I was behind him at afternoon meds and his medication was changed without even talking to him. Misconduct i think. Or just simple lack of care. They were not busy at anytime. I could see that through the window. We don’t need people who are just in it because it’s a job or high pay and good benefits. We need more people who care and have compassion and understanding. There are some but their either too busy because everyone wants to see a caring nurse thats why their busy but i don’t need to tell you that because you would feel the same. Imagine if somone you love got admitted or even worse sectioned under section 2 or 3 . Bad thought even worse when the treatment they receieve is so bad it makes their condition or emotional state worse. You would not be happy right????. Think thats my rant over and sorry for going on but you need to know. Kind regards RobertThompson. Speak to you soon hopefully. HELP PLEASE I WANT THESE OUT OR DEMOTED BECAUSE IF I HAVE TO GO THERE AGAIN I WILL GET TREATED WORSE BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO KNOW IV’E MADE A COMPLAINT. SORRY FOR SHOUTING TOO i need somthing done i cant stand the thought of others being treated the same or worse. Again imagine if that was your loved one would you be happy.?? NO. sorry ahain for shouting but i need to emphasize my thoughts and feelings without swearing or the names i want to call these people but then that would be at least rude and they could possibly make a counterclaim. Gotta be so carefull these days. Lol. Kind regards and best wishes. Robert. Thompson.

      • I am sorry that you have had to go through all that. Is there another hospital you can request to go to if you are committed again. Possibly make it known to your doctor why you don’t want to ever go back. If not, maybe you should make an appointment with the administrator of the hospital and calmly explain why you have the concerns that you have. Go into how you feel like you might be treated worse since you made the complaints. While in the hospital did you ask for the Nursing Supervisor. They are the best ones to talk to and they should be able to help you. I hope you don’t have to be hospitalized again, but if you do, it goes a lot better.

      • I was admited to a mental hospital volonterly or so I thought my dad convinced me to go. They told me I would be there for only 45 days. I was there for a year. And I didn’t exactly get out on good behavior either, I was first at a lower level of care unit. Then I started getting put on high risk (someone who needs to be watched for suicidal behavior and restrained if needed) then I went to the next level up, and before I knew it. I was in the highest level of care hospital the state had to offer and they were giving me literally 17 pills a day sometimes 18 if they decided a needed a shot to shut me up. They had a thing called seclusion where they would drag you in, hold you down, take you socks, shoes, coats, hoodies, sometimes shirts, and bra away, and anything you had in your pockets. Then they run out of the small cold concrete room with a drain as a bathroom and leave you there for as long as they see fit (until you stop banging on the door for two hours) there were a lot of cool staff there, there was one that abused the purpose of a hold, the first time was when I was in my room and crying I was just kinda sad that day, and he came in and started trying to talk to me and I explained to him as calmly as I could that I needed my space at that moment all he said was “no I don’t feel comfortable leaving you alone” then he sat down and just watched me. I got angry so I got out of bed and walked out of my room the west door ( door to the back yard) was about to close (it is locked on both sides) so I ran and pushed it open and ran outside the staff ran after me and when I got to the other end of the yard he grabbed me and pushed me in front of him and started forcing me to walk. He was so close behind me I could feel him touching me where no adult should touch a 13 year old, so I turned around and punched him in the face. Then he pushed me on my knees and held my hands in the air (btw that’s not any kind of legal hold in a hospital) instead of calling for more staff like he was suppose to he decided to just hold me like that, eventually a staff saw and came out to help him. Nobody questioned why he put me in that hold or why he didn’t call for more staff. There was another time similar to that when he had me in the same hold and this time he started telling me to cry. The other time he pinned me down on my bed.
        The mental hospital I went to was horrible I remember one time I walked by seclusion ( they have a window on the door and when someone’s in there they put a piece of paper over it) well I decided to see who was in there I lift the piece of paper to see blood spattered everywhere in thick globs. On the walls it read f*ck you, and kill me. There was puddles of blood everywhere. I walked around the corner to see my best friend with bandages on her arms and blood on her cloths and face. (The staff are watching you every second your in there) I became furious with the staff and started to attack him because they all just stood by and watched while my best friend tried to kill herself she is still there and has been for more than two years. They then threw me in the same room after mopping just the floor with water.
        Those places are NOT like the movies

  6. Pingback: The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals « The Inner Limits

  7. This was such an interesting story how the system really works, I went to a museum all about the death of pychiatric hospitals its crazy and i loved it, it opens your eyes to realize how things work how money is such a big deal in the health industries.. The mental hospitals fight for patients rights, you should most deffinatley check it out or google it its on Sunset in Los Angeles/Hollywood. (323) 467-4242

      • I just read your blog. Thank you! I am a mom fighting for my son’s violation of dignity and treatment in California. I will take it as high up as I need to. Several clients approached me upon leaving who were afraid to speak up on their own behalf. Disgusting. This is America not a third world country, no excuses ever. We need good programs that foster hope and recovery with love.

  8. I know exactly how you feel. I have not only had similar experiences but i have been strapped down to the bed in leather retraints. i felt like a prisoner. i also sufferrd from dystonia. Not all hospitals are bad but the majority of them are. The first time i was in a place like that i was only 12. The last time was almost a year. I had some bad experiences and some good.

  9. The most terrifying experience of my life was in a state run psychiatric facility. I want so badly to help those in those institutions because I have never seen anything like it and horrifies me to this day. How do you think I can help them?

    • I think the best way to change things and help others are to use our voices. Write to your newspaper or government. Many times, you can get a letter to the editor accepted. I wish there was something else I could suggest. It just all seems so wrong. People in jail are treated so much better. That is sad.

  10. Pingback: The Truth about Many Psychiatric Hospitals | malrich2

  11. Interesting article, thanks! I’ve subscribed to your website posts. Nice ideas in this blog. I agree.
    Welcome to Insight Choices, We are a team of mental health professionals located in the West Hollywood – Los Angeles area. Our mission is to help you thrive in spite of your mental health issues. Get in touch with us: 8265 Sunset Blvd.Suite 204 Los Angeles, CA 90046 Tel: (323) 375-0950 Fax: (323) 315-5240 Email:
    Los Angeles Psychiatrist

  12. Well things are relally bad in the mental hospital. You would think that being in a hospital would help but they don’t. SOme do have theralpy groups and level systems but others just want to give you a shot and tie you down to a bed in restraints which is never fun, I am glad that the laws are finally trying to change. when i was younger as young as 12, they keppt me in restarints for hours which to me felt like child abuse. I am afriad to go to any hospital because they give me shots that I am allergic to etc. i would hope we can stop the stigma of mental illness. ANd they are scary unless you are lucky enough to go to really nice program. I have to go but i will reply later.

  13. There are some nice hospitals like the last one I was at which was at college Hospital in Cerritos Ca, they had groups and they really tried to help me. but when I was having a hard time, putting me in the seclusion room did not help. being in restraints didn’t help either. I spent 2 and a half months there and i was fortunate enough to have a really nice psychtrist who helped get me on the correct medicaiton clozaril and ambilify and i am thankful for the staff that put up with me. I have been out of the hospital for almost a year and a half. Right now I am depressed but i am afraid to go to any hospital unless it’s like Canyon Ridge which have the therapy groups and occupational groups and who try to prevent restarints and seclusion. But I never want to go to a higher level of care like shandin hills or sierra vista where they abuse you. They use a perrocedure called pro-act and they hold you down and make it hurt even if you are not struggling. I would rather be at metropolitan state hospital in LA county anyday then one day in sirra vista.

  14. Michelle, If animals were treated as poorly as individuals with mental illness – it would make front page headlines. Bless you for speaking out. Love you! Mary A

  15. all I do is sit around on this hospital, get more sad and dissapointed .. almost nobody ever comes and talks to me its fucking terrible. I tried telling them and they just disagree.

    • I hear your frustrations and unfortunately a lot of times people dismiss people with mental illnesses because of the stigma. Even when they work with mentally ill, they just don’t get it sometimes. It is easy to come up with excuses and say they disagree. However, if you feel strongly enough about it keep calling and writing emails/letters until you get to someone who will listen even if it is the CEO or someone who funds the hospital. People need to know what goes on. If enough advocates work on this, maybe some day things will change. I am sorry you have had such a rough time. If you look on the wall, there is a patient’s bill of rights. Go through them and write up examples of how each one was violated. Be prepared when you talk to someone and insist that they address every concern.

  16. I am so sorry to hear the bad experiences that many of you have been through, i am in my 1st year of being a student mental health nurse (currently studying in the Uk) and was surfing the web to see individual s experience of care within mental health sector and am disgusted and upset to hear the way many of you have been treated. I ensure you all i will never treat or allow anyone i work with to make or treat any individual in anyway that causes harm or upset.

  17. I completely believe all of what you have shared and, sadly, none of it surprises me. My own stint in a psychiatric hospital has left such a bitter taste in my mouth I refuse to ever voluntarily end up there again. What saddened me the most was that my fellow patients, with the exception of one 18-year-old woman, accepted it as the status quo. She and I raged against the mistreatments and injustices and were promptly labeled “troublemakers.” I still feel sick to my heart when I think about how they simply tossed a homeless old lady out on her ass as soon as the doctor said she was no longer a suicide risk – riiiight, because putting a mentally ill, elderly lady back on the streets is the healthy thing to do!

    And don’t even get me started on the abysmal way these “medical professionals” handle medications! I was on Adderall for ADHD, and the doctor decided it was making my bipolar worse (which it was, and thankfully I am off it now), but instead of weaning me off it as is medically advisable, they ripped me off of a 30mg x2/day dosage cold turkey. I was in excruciating mental and physical pain. They gave me nothing to help. They also would not allow smoking outside…which I think is insane. So not only was I going through painful Adderall withdrawal, I was going through painful nicotine withdrawal as well! I was in hell, I did not get any better, so I had to fake it to finally get out of that hellhole. AND, then of course, i have to happily pay these sadists the co-pay. Sadly, I am still trying to get help for my bipolar depression and crippling anxiety which is causing suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.

  18. Pingback: Madlove: A Designer Asylum | Dissociated Press

  19. What you all say is totally true. I am a psych RN with Bipolar and I am treated like an animal when I am a patient and treated like I am incompetent as a staff member but “only” if my DX is known. Otherwise they praise me for my attitude, professionalism etc. I hate psychiatry and as a nurse I cannot get help in South Australia. I am moving into a friends home in a day then taking myself interstate (Melbourne perhaps) to find a hospital who will admit and treat me. Im suicidal and no one cares or gives a damn. So you are right.. as a nurse I watch the establishment and other nurses treat patients poorly.. often its not our fault (mostly however it is.. bad attitudes). They give us nurses so much crap to do that we have no time for clients. Its all bloody useless paperwork and doing MSE’s etc. And if you do try to do any counseling the older nurses will interrupt you. Despite it being a directive, it is actually not done and you are right again in that patients are left to fend for themselves and all the reliance is on medication. No therapy of any kind. Like you are a cake in an oven baking away and the mental illness will cure itself. The truth is, clients bond, make friends and they provide their own therapy. Nurses do nothing at all. The NGO’s are getting it mostly right but nurse and medico’s.. and you know.. I dont want art therapy, I want group therapy or some counseling or at least someone to talk to and tell me life is ok. Instead you, me, we all get treated like we are retarded animals. disgusting !

  20. I agree with a lot of the posts and will also say to avoid these places at all costs.

    I voluntarily admitted myself last year to a new facility that had been opened only a few months because I needed a medication adjustment. I wasn’t even having thoughts about hurting myself or anyone else. I was just really, really, depressed and thought that going in one of those places would speed up finding a better med. The place was like a sweat shop. They violated hypa rights right out in the open, mocking patients and talking about their diagnoses for anyone to hear. They didn’t even have glass windows to discuss things. Some even just bullied the lower functioning patients. People were fist fighting and nothing was being done to break it up. One guy walked around bottomless. A couple co-workers were giving each other back rubs and they weren’t even a couple.

    I was also put on a heavy narcotic and was told by the doctor there was no addictiveness, side-effects, or withdrawal symptoms. It nearly tore apart my family. I became someone I wasn’t and was verbally lashing out and saying the worst things to them. Finally, I read up on the side-effects and realized it was the medicine (not going to say which one because different things work for different people, but let’s just say, this one has a lot of lawsuits against it) and had to be put in another facility 4 or 5 weeks later to detox. This one made the last one look like Disney World. At least the last one had the excuse that they were new.

    The second I got in there, my bag with all my personal belongings including my wallet were missing and the head nurse/check in person said “We better get him his bag so he doesn’t make a big fret about it.”

    The place was basically a prison. Literally no windows. It was snowing and I wasn’t even aware. No one was allowed outside. The nurses all hung out together like some big fraternity and when they happened to interact with a patient, were completely rude and condescending. There was a physically handicapped woman nearly convulsing and one of the nurses actually said “Nurses meeting, back in 15 minutes” even though there was her and a few other nurses around that were able to hand out meds and the meeting hadn’t started. (Eventually after enough people spoke up she was given her meds.) I’m very, very surprised they’d never run into any serious problems because this sort of thing happened a lot: People desperately needing medicine for physical symptoms the nurses dismissing them.

    Since my diagnosis was just extreme social anxiety/mild aspergers and bi-polar and I was able to articulate myself, it’s like they were threatened by me and were making my stay worse. I also had my parents on my list of contacts who could access my chart, so they had to talk to them and allow me to talk to them since I’m technically disabled by law. My mom was also in there to see how the place was run.

    Eventually, they even had one of the female technicians look in my room every 2 or 3 minutes (these places usually do 5 to 10 minute checks just to keep track of you, but this was excessive and just to bust my chops.) I was even half-asleep once and had two workers leaning over me to make sure I was really asleep.

    I called my dad one night and was crying and saying “This place, it’s horrible” and told him I loved him. Some female night-watcher/technician accused me of fake crying to give my parents the idea that they weren’t taking proper care of me. I basically told her to mind her own business.

    One of the more level-headed patients, a woman in her 30s or 40s, the day before I left said to me, “I just thought I’d tell you, they’re afraid of you. They know you’re intelligent and they know your parents see what the place is like, and are probably relieved you’re leaving tomorrow.”

    Another thing is that these places, at least where I live, mix everyone together and put everyone from people that are depressed/bi-polar but not threats and mix them with alcoholics, recreational drug addicts, to people that just got out of jail.

    When I have really down days now, I just visit my family doctor who also prescribes. He’s known me my whole life and is a good, honest man along with the people in his office.

    Unless you’re really a threat to hurt yourself or someone else, I’d stay completely away from these places, and honestly, even then you’d probably be better off sleeping it off in your local ER for a few days. I’ve found that nurses at ERs and general hospitals, along with most of the staff, are more competent and also like their jobs and treat their patients like people.

  21. All of these comments spot on. Thank you for helping to present an accurate depiction of psychiatric hospitals to the public. Too many look to them for help and only end up worse off for what they have encountered.

  22. I agree with you but I disagree with the way you are handling the situation. I have borderline personality disorder and some years ago also diagnosed with ptsd and major depression. Ive been suicidal plenty of times. I knew from experience that hospitals, meds and therapy were ineffective and that psychiatry is really still in its infancy. Couple my high intelligence and strong Cuban take no shit from anyone personality, I was invincible. I dealt with my problems myself instead of pursuing futile treatments. Massage, meditation and giving myself until 35 before deciding if i wanted to make a rational decision to end my life. I believe that suicide can be a rational choice if enduring incurable suffering of any kind for many years. So I gave myself a time til 35. Im now 32 and while I am not normal, I am socially isolated by choice and dont work much, I am no longer suicidal, i look great and i work part time as an escort on the days i feel productive. I make 1k a week part time. My goal is to make 2 to 3k a week. To be more productive. But as of now i do feel better than before. I worked on my self esteem, weight and overall well being. I have excellent internet reviews as well. If things had not improved, 35 was going to be my cut off date. Maybe that was part of what made me realize that what was in my head could be ameliorated. I told myself ok lady either you pull yourself up or you die. So i pulled myself up. Ive always been a tough broad as a Cuban. I don’t see the same strength in most white women. Id rather die on my own terms than pay thousands for treatments that dont work and i take shit from anybody. I also don’t think there’s anything wrong at all with suicide. Its a personal choice and if suffering is incurable i don’t see why not. If i ever need to i will do it.

  23. The best part of my stay was the people I was with. They became my support group as I did for them. The nurses hated us. One person was hurting themselves and the nurses did know they were busy in that back office most of the days. I know that the way people there were feeling more suicide because of the nurses.
    The nursesnever told us we did anything wrong they just ignored us. There were people in wheel chair that needed up and since the nurses weren’t around we would help them by getting drinks and other things. We talk about what brought us there and supported each other.
    They left one man in his wheel chair all night but had the time to wake another Edson to lock up there glasses and chap stick. The man was in able to move his hand after that and kept asking to see a doctor but they would call one.

    Another girl started getting trimmers with high blood pressure. It took 6 hours for a doctor to come up. And say it’s withdrawals (but she had been fine for 5day before that)
    Another girl was scared to go home when you was getting ready to be released that she started hurting herself she went to the nurses having a panic attack crying. They said well the doctor signed off we can give you information for a homeless shelter but they scary places. We don’t don’t want you here because you keep breaking our rules. She told them I am sorry you never told me and they said she would just have to leave and that she needed to go back to bed.
    They didn’t read my chart and gave me wrong medication and when I tried to tell them they said I had to take it anyways. I started crying and at the time my mom was there to visit and the nurse would let me go back until I stopped crying because my mom was there. I finally got to see my mom and told her the nurse say and came over 10 mins later and said she talked to the pharmacist and they will make sure I get the right medication as she looked at my mom.
    The day I was leaving I signed my paper work but one of my friends was hurting herself . They told me I could leave anytime that day. I asked my friend if she wanted me to say with her a little longer till our physic tech came in and she could talk to him about what she did and she said yes she was affairs of the nurses. As I sat there the nurse told me I needed to leave now. I called my mom to pick me up but was going to an hour before so the nurses said we will give you a cap bug you need to leave. I was feeling so scared for them and me.
    Everything we told the we were just crazy when all of us were there for suicide. They yelled at us and made us feel worse. I was feeling better at first the started feel like I was in a toxic place that was going to make me feel like suicide. They made treatment worse for everyone.

  24. Hi my name is Kelsey . I have a similar experience and would love to reach out to you. I want to start an awareness program about menta hospitals. I was forced and tricked to going into one. I am a naturopathic medical student now.

  25. Pingback: Advice to Loved one of Someone who is Mentally Ill | Bipolar Bandit

  26. Pingback: Watch Out Social Media! Hypomania Working Against You | Bipolar Bandit

  27. Pingback: First Psychiatric Institution in USA: Williamsburg, VA October 1773 | Bipolar Bandit (Michelle Clark)

  28. Pingback: My Horrors during Recent Hospital Visit: I need your help in writing the letter to the Hospital | Bipolar Bandit (Michelle Clark)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s