Amid COVID, People Involuntarily Confined in Psych Hospitals Must Be Released


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.



  1. Thanks for sharing this piece, which is my first piece published via Truthout! 🙂

    I especially hope people here will check out Anita D’s poem if they haven’t already seen it. (It’s just a couple minutes long). It’s a really great, really powerful representation of what it is like to be held on a psych unit. 🙂



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    • @Sera

      Great article! Also glad that it detailed some of the strategies, in-motion, WMRLC is doing to address COVID -19 concerns for survivors who are “on the outside,” and would like a template to help people “on the inside.”

      In their own cities, counties or states.

      That way, you can guide survivors on what worked best for your group, and what didn’t.

      Also, loved the spoken Anita D. poem. It would fit great in your Candy Corn/Harvard Guy article–a commenter was describing the inhumanity of the in-patient assessment process, but Anita D had an audience THAT GOT IT!

      ’cause they could see & hear her.

      It’s always fun to mimic the Pscyh Nurses! Anita D did that.

      Notice they always use the word “appropriate?” “Appropriate” is a Psych Nurse word.

      As in, “your behavior is not *appropriate*.” Your not wasing your hair today is not *appropriate*.”

      “But psych nurse, I DID wash my hair. The medications make my hair greasy.”

      Pscyh nurse: “Oh no, I don’t think you can blame your medication!”

      In which the doctor chimed in, “yes, actually the medications CAN DO that.”

      Pscyh nurse looks down & looks ashamed. SCORE!

      I see my next skit! Watch out for me mimicry (!)

      Or we could always go back to making fun of Harvard Guy!!!!!!!! ; )

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