Two days ago I had a medical emergency and had to go the the ER. The only room they had was a cell with a chair in it. It was run down with scratched and peeling paint , a TV high on the wall, a fresh gouge in the edge of the door. I must have looked surprised because the nurse apologised and said, as if that either explained or excused it, that it was the `psych room’. When I said that it was a shame that a `psych room’ was so like a cell, and it might be a good idea to put a picture or some colour on the wall. He muuered, `that might be too stimulating’ and scurried out. I also remarked that if I was disturbed enough to be here in a hospital this room would surely increase my distress, but that was carefully ignored. After a short while they came to move me saying, `we’ll take you somewhere better now.’ This was to a medical cubicle divided from the rest of the ward only by a curtain, not a locked door. It was noisy and bustling and no effort was made to make it not so `stimulating’ even though I was actually very ill. My point is that it was okay to put someone with `a medical illness like any other’ in a grim, dilapidated cell with a door locking them away from the rest of the ward. The action and attitude was that NO, `mental illness’ is NOT `an illness like any other’, and may NOT partake of `normal’ treatment in a `normal’ milieu, it must be separated and locked away. It was depressing to know that in 2017, that for the `mentally ill’ nothing has changed since the days of the old loony bin where I worked in the 1970s, separate, different and shameful. Indeed it’s worse now because the separation happens in the middle of `normality’, emphasising the difference and shame. I might add that even in my rare health emergencies I refuse to go to any hospital that might have records of my old psych history. The first time after my association with psychiatry ended I did have to go to a hospital and was treated with contempt. My sister was amazed that I didn’t notice how rude and dismissive the staff were. I was used to it. I believe that the treatment was better in the old loony bin than it is now. The drug saturation was far less, there was space, the staff were often distant but I don’t remember them being contemptuous, and there was hope that things would get better. Now I think the belief is that things are as good as they’ll get, at least until a new drug arrives. The staff are far more isolated and medically educated – so they spend 5 minutes getting a list of symptoms then 2 hours of collating it into a quasi medical report. Terrifying and…well, I’m discouraged to say the least.