The Risk That Survives a Psych Ward Stay


From OZY: The suicide rate for former psychiatric inpatients is 44 times higher than that of the general population. According to Australian psychiatrist and professor Christopher Ryan, some suicides may be caused by the traumatic experience of hospitalization.

“Since a majority of patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals show signs of harming themselves, some experts say it’s logical to expect those patients to remain at a higher risk of killing themselves after they are discharged. But that assumes psych wards are not helping inpatients with suicidal tendencies. Ryan has an even more damning theory: ‘It’s a distinct possibility that a percentage of those deaths are caused by the hospitalization itself.’ He suggests that some patients, especially ones who have been hospitalized against their wishes, wouldn’t have killed themselves if they hadn’t been institutionalized in the first place.”

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  1. Agree totally. For me the experience of being kidnapped, locked up and drugged when I had committed no crime was truly traumatic. I was stripped of my rights and my humanity. I was forced to take drugs that made me unable to think or function (olanzapine and Mertazapine), and that made it impossible to sit still and caused visual and audtiroy hallucinations. There was Ambien and/or other sleeping stuff thrown in for good luck too, from memory.

    That was my first experience of “mental illness”..I was 50 with no history of “mental illness” or any untoward behaviour. I was, in fact, a successful senior exec….until this experience.

    Within a couple of months of getting out I did make an extremely serious attempt on my life as I figured that I was destined to live my life drugged to the eyeballs with extreme side effects, virtually under house arrest and having been told I had embarked on the revolving door of psychiatric hsopitalisation, and made unable to contribute to society in any way, I did not want to live.

    Plus, the experience of PSYCH WARD was deeply traumatising. This was in 2004…I have been psych drug and totally “treatment” free (therapy sort of helped) for a number of years and now participate fully in society, although I never returned to my exec position.

    But I would still rather be dead than go to a psych ward again.

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