From Truthout: “There has long been concern that psychiatric treatment facilities are misnamed in that their mission so often seems geared toward containment over rehabilitation, no matter how they choose to portray themselves. Poet Anita D has won widespread recognition for her poem, ‘And the Psych Ward Says,’ in which she powerfully details just what that lack of real help can look like from the inside: ‘Remember, you are only here for three days, so take advantage of the 5 to 10 minutes you have with the doctor. But, understand he has a list of patients as long as his pay stubs, so you won’t be receiving any actual therapy sessions while you’re here.’
The COVID-19 crisis has served to bring this issue into focus. For example, pre-crisis, hospitals across the nation would typically insist that someone isn’t ‘participating in treatment’ if they weren’t regularly going to groups in the unit, no matter how inane some of them were. Yet now, many of those same hospitals are insisting that — with all groups canceled — they’re still able to provide treatment at the same time that they’re asking people to quarantine in those very same rooms. And, the hospitals that have continued to hold groups — sometimes with people asked to sit nearly shoulder-to-shoulder — aren’t in any better position to defend their choices as they recklessly put the lives of both their staff and those hospitalized at serious risk.