MIA Survey of Former Psych Ward Patients: All Comments


The following comments are from the MIA survey of former psych ward patients conducted between October 15 and November 5, 2018. There was one that was edited to remove the name of an individual criticized in the comment.

The final question of the survey, along with respondents’ answers, is below. The answers are ordered chronologically (i.e. the first answer was submitted on October 15 and the last answer was submitted on November 5).

Question: Is there anything else you would like to share about your psychiatric ward/hospital experience?


Eventually, non-compliance was the main way I broke the recycle. Alternatives not well developed during my hospitalizations. Was active in Berkeley Rap Center and in Mental Patients Liberation Project.

To a large degree, I’ve lost faith in mental health care providers. I was profoundly abused as a child, and it took many years to process the damage to my mind. Once the internet was up and running, I learned more there than I did during many years of therapy and inpatient treatments. I still struggle emotionally, but am medication free, eat fairly normally (no binge/purge behavior), and functional — no thanks to the psych community. I don’t think that any of them had bad intentions, but they were in a position of power, and most should not have been. As you know, there remains a great deal of ignorance about psych drugs and complex PTSD, and that has created an unacceptable level of suffering — especially from prescription benzodiazepine use, which I went through living hell to get myself off of.

Hospitals and Medication are highly dangerous to health. The mental health system ruined my life.

It felt like a way to protect my psychiatrist from liability if I harmed myself further. No meds were changed and no coping giving, I was admitted Friday night and released Sunday so I also did not see any therapist. I only learned that there’s no quick fixes and there is something worse than the depths of depression, which is being in a psych ward while severely depressed. No one seemed concerned about helping me, only getting me in and out to pass on the liability.

We are in dire need of programs like Soteria. I currently work at a Soteria Project, and it has helped me to get back on my feet, and thrive in my community.

While I was described as being in manic or psychotic states in these (and other times that I avoided hospitalization and got through the experience at home), I was going through “expanded consciousness,” spiritual experiences, times of extreme creativity. I refuse to believe that these were simply “delusions” of no consequence. There is a violence of meaning to having one’s meaningful experiences treated as simply “crazy.”
Also, I was treating with disrespect in each hospitalization (and by the police who took me to the hospital in a paddy wagon in handcuffs one time). At 21, I was a student at an excellent college. A nurse told me “You aren’t going back to school, honey, you have a serious mental health problem.” I made it back to college the next semester, graduated, and then got a master’s and PhD and am now a tenured professor. However, that nurse’s statement (and other disrespectful, infantilizing treatment, really got to me, and thirty years later I am still un-learning and healing from the trauma of such treatment, even though, in my case, I was not sexually or physically abused in the psych hospital (unless you count the too-tight handcuffs).

It’s incomprehensible that it’s 2018 and psychiatric professionals are treating patients with such disdain and lack of empathy. Jackasses, I hate them all. I’m better off suffering at home than I ever was in any of my admissions to psych wards.

Being admitted to a psychiatric facility is a horrifying experience that I would recommend to no one. That’s it.

My bill was in excess of $400,00. I was administered ECT “with my consent” apparently. But I was in no position to provide consent for anything prior.

I was sectioned by a police officer despite being told it was unecessary by involved medical persons. I was sectioned solely to pass on any liability to someone else, and I do not believe police should ever have this kind of power. Hospital nurse told me my town police section “every well being check”

“They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.”
― Nathaniel Lee

Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. Psychiatry & psych drugs have done, and continue to do, far more harm than good. I am living proof of the LIES of psychiatry. Despite my now-permanent disability, the last 20+ years “psych-free” have been the BEST years of my life, so far!

It wasn’t traumatizing. It changed my life. And I am positive that it changed it for the better. I would say that it saved me to put it succinctly. I went there from Jail. When I look at the whole “episode” or the complete experience that part is/was hell. In every sense of the word. I would never wish anyone to go thru that experience.

as bad as they have been, i still consider going in if I get desperate enough as there are not enough alternatives

Inpatient psych is a very last resort as it has been unhelpful and generally taxing. Some places were little different from prison.

I remember almost nothing about my experience, since I was drugged most of the time and constantly sleeping. I was NOT given the option of refusing such treatment. This was back in the summer of 1969. I was released from the hospital after a week or so.

I was 7 the first time, then 10, then 14, 15 and 16, I have been imprisoned 8 times and was forced to take many many medications from 7-14 when I was legally able to refuse, before that I was very vocal about not wanting the meds and was forced anyway, I was also vocal about not liking the hospitals and was sent their against my will anyway.

I completed the Safe Alternatives inpatient program. It has been located at several different hospitals. I believe it is a good program more than any one hospital is a good hospital.

I was 9.

As a survivor of childhood and adolescent abuse and domestic violence, I cannot believe how abusive the hospitals are. The whole dynamic of abuse plays out all over again. Pyschiatric hospitalizations damaged me to the point of giving up, feeling so worthless that I believed I wasn’t worth the air I was breathing and needed to die. The bio pysch model is harmful. Thank God for domestic violence counseling which help me see the pattern of trauma. Mad in America helped me realize I wasn’t alone in my views and am able to stand up against this model. Thank you!

I really wish it was like a retreat. Full of nature and getting to play with baby animals. Also, if culinary arts students made the food. And it’s really messed up that they didn’t give me my anxiety meds.

I’ve had many hospitalizations but once they found the right meds I’ve been pretty stable for awhile now

When ur young like I was it’s awful I was molested by my step brother no one wld stop it till I tried to kill myself then I had to go away get locked up in a mental place for two weeks and as I got older I had a couple more suicide attempts and was admitted to Kettering hospital a couple times from that first experience it’s scared me to death I never want b locked up again they made me feel like it was all my fault one of the worst experiences I’ve had the doctors and nurses treat u like crap and they prescribe unnecessary drugs thankfully over the years dealing with my mental illnesses I’ve found the right cocktail of meds to remain as stable as I can I hav bad days like everyone else but I will never tell a doctor if I’m feeling suicidle that’s a quick ticket to a lock down being put in one of these places forcibly causes more trauma to the ppl who suffer frm mental health issues no one truly knos wat it’s like or how u feel unless u hav a mental health problem doctors can study all they want they will truly never understand textbooks don’t have all the answers and ppl need to stop calling us with mental health problems CRAZY!! It’s not the case for all of us goin into a mental hospital at a young age made me distrusting of doctors therapists etc. I cld go on and on

I know not all psychiatric wards are not like the one I went to. If I was to ever voluntarily chech myself in again, it would NOT be at Mobile Infirmary. I’ve been on benzodiazepines since i was 16 due to severe anxiety and PTSD, when in the ward they refused to give me my medication causing me to have severe withdrawals. I’m thankful i didn’t die. The nurses were okay, just doing what the doctor ordered them to do, but the doctors were absolutely horrible people.

It’s a common theme that the staff doing the brunt of the work are overworked and underpaid my main issue lies in the doctors,social workers, and hospital policies

The problem is that psych wards focus on the majority of patients who have dual or multiple diagnoses, the most prevalent being addiction. I have bipolar but have no addictions so the recovery-based classes were of zero benefit to me. There needs to be a separate section for the mentally ill without addictions so their therapeutic needs are met.

Traumatic caused severe ptsd

Mostly I felt safe but I was scared of my roommate. She said she had multiple personalities or something. I wouldn’t go back to a psych ward because I believe medication is the root of my biggest problems. When I was admitted, I had gone off several meds in a short time and became psychotic. If my state was recognized as withdrawal at the time, I potentially wouldn’t be painstakingly tapering off of some of the same drugs now.

I stayed at Cottonwood also and they told me I had to pay a little over a thousand dollars if I wanted to stay and would not give me pain meds for fibromyalgia.

Thoroughly traumaticin three places. One place was good.

It keeps a person safe at the moment, but it doesn’t help make the person better just miserable.

I don’t want to go back, but I should.

Not now. Other than I have been seeing a very good psychologist for over 19 months to make sense of it all.

I never saw a psychiatrist. I was assigned to the nurse practitioner, who has far less education and training than an MD. Had I been in my right mind I would have asked for a doctor because I know that’s my right, but I wasn’t thinking clearly and they didn’t offer.

They illegally detained held me medically captive scrapped my face until or bled put me in restraints when all I was doing was asking for a lawyer and I had a right to my purse. I had a lawyer come down to the San Pedro hospital and they lied and said no one was there to see me they denied all my legal rights and broke the pay phone so I couldn’t use it. These places are involved in gang stalking and they will do anything to me to shut me up

I have a child with several disabilities and he had his first emergency room visit last June. My own experiences were so dehumanizing that I’ve found the fact that my son may experience more ER visits/ possible admissions so difficult agree to put him through, its made it hard to make decisions about his care.

They should delay really crazy people from people that are depressed in the rooms. Couldn’t even sleep with these crazy women yelling and crying.

If there seems to be a disagreement, listen closer

No real therapy or compassion seems to exist…basically a holding pen while they see what meds they can screw you up with. Mediocre at best.

I think that for one thing if doctors need to taper patients off of medications they should do it in a humane way that wouldn’t harm the patient, another thing is that doctors in the psych ward need to understand the interactions with the drugs that they put patients on it could be the difference between life and death.

Not worth it. The psych ward is supposed to prevent self-injurious behavior. I was cutting and starving myself while I stayed there, and I attempted suicide after I left. I was left with such a fear of hospitals and doctors that I have put off receiving preventative and even acute medical care since. It’s dangerous, but I still feel like the hospital is more dangerous.

The food is awful

My last 3 or 4 hospitalizations were less traumatic and more helpful than all of the others. All of those hospitalizations took place in a small hospital in Washington that focused on people with histories of trauma. Unfortunately, that hospital closed because it didn’t make enough money.

I feel the need to explicitly emphasise how traumatic the experience was overall, but especially the repercussions which effectively destroyed my high school GPA and social life and contributed toward much more abuse over the money I cost and embarrassment I caused, including direct physical which wasn’t present prior, from the parent that was unfortunately never convicted of their crimes or ever institutionalised or forced to take medication for their blatant psychotic hallucinations…?

I was given Klonapin when going back to my job as a long haul truck driver.

Being there is an education. You see what people have to deal with and it sucks.

Not sure why initial admission was involuntary (don’t remember being asked to admit volunarily). After hold was up I was offered option to enter voluntarily with the threat that if I didn’t they would involuntarily commit me anyway. There was not enough one on one individualized care.

I would just like to add that despite my admission to a psych ward being voluntary and lasting only 2-3 days, it was one of the most deeply traumatic experiences of my life that I’m still recovering from now, over 5 years later, many others I’ve spoken to who have been in psych wards say they shared a similar traumatic experience. I went there to get help because I was raped and suicidal, yet they made my trauma 10 times worse, and had no interest in helping me. The way the mental health industry currently exists is very abusive and those in control weild an enormous abuse of power that goes entirely unchecked. The staff who abused me faced no consequences for their actions whatsoever.

No one should be making medication decisions on their own. Patients are not thinking clearly and are at the mercy of a doctor they barely see. Hardly anyone gets visitors or phone calls, much less help making decisions. You are only kept long enough to determine if you are allergic to whatever drug the doctor gives you. You get no info on the meds either.

I didn’t get help from a single counselor or therapist even once the entire time I was there. The patients basically were but on medication and had to fend for themselves.

It completely angered me to see that the mental health system would fail me this much. I thought it was horrible before hospitalization. Now I know it is. I consider it to be the worst week of my life.

Like being in prison and abused, emotionally and mentally, treated like a nonhuman, worse than a dog.

still seeking closure

It was the darkest time of my life however I survived and lived and productive, meaningful life.

It almost killed me!

By far the most horrific and traumatizing experiences of my entire life. The worst time of all was when they repeatedly denied me an antibiotic for a UTI and as a result I developed pyelonephritis and almost died while they continued to hold me involuntarily. If I would complain of pain or blood in my urine, they would literally punish me with solitary confinement or restraints, telling me I was lying and “acting out” about the UTI (later pyelonephritis). Of course, no one was ever punished for the time they almost killed me. It has been many years since I was force hospitalized, but I remain intensely traumatized and relive the events in flashbacks and nightmares. No longer able to really trust anyone else due to these experiences. Avoid going to doctors and avoid seeking (non-psychiatric) medical care due to distrust of doctors now. Live in a constant, daily state of fear that “they” (family members or psychiatrists) might commit me again. Would quite literally do anything and everything to avoid being ever sent to a psych ward again, including taking my own life. Death is far preferable to that kind of false imprisonment, dehumanization, humiliation, cruelty, and trauma.

Due to being trans I was placed in my own room, but there was no room available so I was housed in the isolation room which was very dark and had no windows or furniture. When a room opened up I was moved to a normal room with no roommate.

Doctors and nurses are cruel and ignorant

After 8 years of being a zombie, I was finally able to recover when I weaned myself off all psyche. meds. I have a full and serene life today after my escape from the mental health system.

It was the most disempowering, stigmatizing, terrifying experience of my life. I am terrified to reach out for help when I am distressed.

Treatment wasn’t even every day, and was group treatment that was useless. I DID find a med that worked somewhat, and it was a relief from responsibilities for 10 days, but real treatment didn’t start until I got out. There was one level for everyone, so the psychotics got it all, and depressed and ocd people got no treatment.

All hospitals were different. Most though were definitely scary and the staff could be unhelpful but there have been hospitals where it was scary but the staff was amazing

I was undergoing a divorce from my spouse. The team shared medical information with her without my consent. She prevented me from being discharged.

Psychiatry is to medicine as rape is to love.

Not every ward is the same. Some of them are more strict than others. Never feel ashamed of being in one. It may be the one thing that can help save your life and help you get back on track.

i was never consulted about new medications they put me on while in the hospital . After care plans were never followed through and there was limited resources for help/support once I left

The trauma of psychiatry has ruined my life, there is so much I could say but I regret being mad in America and you may contact me. I thank you for allowing me to share my unfortunate experiences and hope you give a voice to people like me who cannot advocate for themselves and have not benefited from this industry.

I was never given the opportunity for individual or family counseling sessions, in spite of being told I would. I feel traumatized to this day.

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, except the abusive people who have chosen to work there

If they had done any type of probing questions they may have realized my anxiety and depression was actually epilepsy that was misdiagnosed and being treated with the wrong class of medication, instead they kept increasing that medication and I became incapacitated.

All four stays saved me from killing myself

More individual treatment, more human attitude from staff

During my stay at osh, I was forced medicated when pregnant with my first son, and it shut my kidneys down and then I was forced into having my son 7 weeks early, and a forced induction. He had to go to the nicu. I gave birth in full str’s ( secure transportation devices, aka belly chain linked to my hand cuffs and ankle shackles linked together. I was never allowed to feed or hold my son, but when he was born he couldn’t eat had to be fed through a feeding tube, and given oxygen. When I was taken to go see him in the nicu other mother’s were rushed out by staff and they would give me 3-10 mins with him, I got to see him twice after he was born. I latter was forced to give my rights away bc the hospital refused to release me, bc of my past drug addiction, even though I had been off all mental health meds for over 3 years. Now five. I never had a mental illness I had a drug problem. Also while in osh I was taken down for raising my voice and yelling in my room and put in six point restraint for up to 12-15 hours and seclusion. I also was badly assaulted by another patient serval times. Awful place, but would only go back if I had to. But I fully believe that I am better in spite of that place.

Based on what I’ve learned, I got certified in P A as a certified peer specialist. Actually worked at Philhaven — not in the regular adult unit where I was a patient, but in the extended acute adult unit, where our patients were admitted involuntarily.

I avoided hospitalization until I was 45. I only went once so far and I hope that’s all I ever go. they don’t offer many real services and the whole experience was an exercise in disempowerment and humiliation. I returned home to the same problems but I also had to detox from the constant surveillance, the locked doors, the constant infantilization, and an increased dosage of a drug that I was already having major, harmful side effects from. so I would say my trip to the hospital made things worse as a whole.

In the medical community in general I find total ignorance about other cultures and ignorance about what it takes to heal. People who do buy into the system really don’t get well

I would be fine with discussing it as long as any information released remained completely anonymous. I am now 18 and have gone through intensive residential treatment programs following my period of psych hospitalization and care a lot about the rights of youth in mental healthcare.

I hated both experiences and thought they were a complete waste of time and money. Never any mention of trauma. I was later diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I do not have Borderline Personality Disorder.

It is an outrage and disgrace to medicine that psychiatry can take a person’s sovereign right to freedom. I read my psyche notes after this event (and they won’t send you your notes if you are from Iowa – so I had to have a trusted MD colleague get them for me – it was ridiculous that the notes of the weekend cover psychiatrist said I was lacking reality testing because I mentioned “pink elephants” when talking to a fellow patient who was an alcoholic. I was stuck there. I was making a joke about delirium tremens. Reading my notes showed be just how utterly clueless these psychiatrists were and my eyes were opened to how easy it would be to make a person a psychiatric prisoner for reasons related to politics and not to mental or physical health. Yes it was traumatizing and psychiatry in America has to change. This cannot continue. Thanks for all you do Mad In America.

I’ve been out of the hospital and off psychiatric drugs for 20 years now.

Honestly, it was the RNs who treated patients horribly. They need to be monitored more closely.

I lost my child after the visit and never saw her again. The psych ward was used against me.

Heritage Oaks broke the law when forcibly medicating me, they got consent from my parents to restrain & medicate me since I was refusing meds (which made that part legal since I was a minor) however they gave me a dose far above what my parents consented to and that medication damaged my mental health more than any other medication ever has. It’s long acting and lasts for an entire month after being administered so once it was in me I couldn’t do anything about it.

I chose not to report them for violating the legal consent they were given because I know as the patient I’m not considered credible. I suspect it’s to late to do anything now.

The one time I voluntarily admitted myself it was to Dignity Health Woodland, they marked it legally as an involuntary admission despite me admitting myself voluntarily and when asked why said it was to prevent me from leaving. I wasn’t sure how to record that so I recorded it as voluntary but it didn’t feel that way after that. They also put off getting me appropriate medical treatment for a second degree burn I had for almost three days while I was there which I would consider medical neglect but not abuse. Along with that they started me on medications, at least one time if not twice, without telling me and would scramble days later to get me to sign consent paperwork to cover their asses. Sierra Vista didn’t do anything exceptionally bad but I was placed in isolation there against my will at least once.

When I describe precisely some of the worst experience of mine as involuntary prisoner in “psychiatric hospital” folks have assumed I was speaking symbolically but no it was actually literally actually what happened. Anti-psychiatry to the core because I’ve seen close up and personal what it is and what it is not.

You have no voice in the hospital until your scheduled for release. The process doesn’t promote healing just stabilization through chemical restraint to release you back into the outside with little to no follow up service or support. Be like putting stitches and bandaids on a wound that is infected and saying your released cause your insurance ran out, good luck, buy some peroxide to clean out the wound and use the phone book to look up some one to take out the stitches.

I would like to say that the first time I was admitted (for “anorexia”–or so the ‘psychiatrist’ whom I was seeing at the time had told me, as I was indeed severely underweight at the time [69 lbs.]), the psychiatric staff told me that they knew NOTHING about treating anorexia, and they told are that the admitting ‘dr.’ had actually put down “schizophrenia” as my diagnosis. When I called him from the hospital to ask why he had given me that diagnosis, and why he hadn’t told me about it, he said (and I quote him exactly), “I don’t have to tell YOU anything,” and hung up. Also, since the staff at this hospital knew nothing about treating anorexia, they basically harassed me into eating (for example, by locking me out of my room whenever I refused to eat, so I would have to comply so my roommate could have access to the room [as when I was locked out, she too was locked out], and I was thus pushed into compulsive operating and binge-eating, which weren’t considered eating disorders because after all, I *was* “eating”, but I developed bulimia after my first discharge. Also, I was given psychiatric medications during every stay [I cannot remember whether I was given any prior to my first admission, though], and during one stay I was given ECT [by another ‘psychiatrist’] to “help” with my depression, which was actually caused by my having to live with a certain person in my immediate family, and this person was the cause/reason for all of my suicide attempts except for the first one, which was caused by my being harassed by my so-called “peers.” Of course, the ECT (and later, antidepressants) didn’t help, as I still had to live with my immediate family, and especially the one who was the cause of nearly all of my suicide attempts, and this person insisted that I never tell the truth about what was going on in the household–not that it mattered, because the I did try telling others about it many years later, I was not, and am still not, believed due to my diagnosis, which this person has exploited to their advantage for all these years, and continues to do so to this day.]

Abour 15 years of my life spent in and out of hospitals. Drugs disabled me. Hell knows what 60 ECTS did to my brain. I consider myself lucky to have found a way out if the system. Same struggles that I originally had. Drugs ruined me. As soon as I refused to take drugs, I was removed from SSDI, with no support. Miraculously cured. While I feel so much better off drugs and finally have my life back, if I could diagnose myself, I’d say I have PTSD from years of forced drugging. F*ck psychiatry. I was young and vulnerable, with understandable struggles. My family did what they thought best. So glad I made it out alive. Had I been institutionalized, I’m convinced the drugs would have killed me. Nobody listens. Nobody truly cares. But they’re glad to make a buck off of you. Screw Big Pharma. Hope you get obese like me and hate yourself. You ARE alone. And trust me, you’re better off that way. Nobody will help you. They will harm you, while giving you BS labels and toxic drugs. They’ll keep you alive long enough to profit. Then you’ll die from the health issues brought on by drugs. ECT pays the docs well. They’ll tell you its like a day at the spa. Or like me, it’s try ECT or you are at risk of being committed long term, never to get out because the forced injections have taken your mind, and created another world.

The only help I received was from other patients and the feeling of satisfaction helping other patients

Being institutionalized was a life changing experience for a girl on the spectrum. It was an exercise in power, and totally unjustified.

I will be starting a job in public behavioral health soon, and I worry that I will never be able to encourage anyone to seek help from psych wards (I cannot call those places “hospitals”) even if they might need temporary safety. I always got out worse than when I went in… over 20 times in the span of 10 years. I lost my 20s to psych facilities, the terrible over-drugging treatment, resulting catatonic depression, and the damaging ECTs prescribed because of that catatonia. I received misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis. Psychiatrists would not even see me upon admission, and it was difficult to get staff to listen to me about anything. The experiences were humiliating and traumatizing, and I learned very quickly to be helpless. Luckily I have a supportive spouse, finally found a great therapist, kicked all psychiatric medications to the curb, and I’m a well person now. Except for the rage… but I feel it’s valid, and I tend to channel it in healthy ways, including writing. I’ve wanted to sue many times, in order to make changes for others, but the one time I sought legal help, my experiences were poo-poo’ed (because of stigma, I assume). I have filed complaints and grievances, but none of them went anywhere. I write about my experiences in psych wards constantly and am willing to provide more information at a later date. For now, it’s getting late, and I need to practice self care and calm my rage. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to ask these questions.

I told the medical staff that I had adverse reactions to most psychiatric medications and that I did not want to be administered meds. They injected me anyway and forced me to be med compliant. I had to moved from the psych ward to intensive care because I had Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome.

I was not suicidalnor disabled the first time I was hospitalized. 2 weeks later I was suicidal and disabled due to treatment

Ive had numerous visits and some were voluntarily. I just wanted to get off the drugs they had me on but instead they would force more on me. I had to withdraw on my own and escape maryland. It has put a very bad twist on my future. I cant go back to maryland due to the fear of being committed again. One day i plan on writing my story. I still deal with the aftermath of this. It hurts me to know others are going through worse than what i experienced. I have a lot of bizarre stories regarding what has happened.

The doctors cold turkey me from a benzo and didn’t warn me of withdrawal effects, seizure risk, etc. I drove home 90 minutes after discharge without the knowledge of withdrawal and/or seizures. I didn’t experience withdrawal until I was sent home.

Psych wards are an absolute cesspit of illegal and abusive behavior. The power dynamic is already extremely imbalanced because they’re closed off from the rest of the hospital and the patients inside are presumed incompetent upon admission. I think it must select for medical professionals who can perpetrate or at least turn a blind eye to (if their office culture gaslights them hard enough) abuse. I was in a reasonably funded ward attached to a normal hospital, not a city mental institution serving underserved populations, and it was appalling in there. I have nightmares about my experiences. I would have been far more served by a stay with an understanding family, a cup of tea, maybe a few days of short-acting anxiolytics, and good therapy.

It has been one of my lifelong hopes to do something about this, but unfortunately physical and mental illness (partially caused by my experiences, and by the experiences that brought me in–childhood abuse, domestic violence, family rejection caused by being transgender) really broke down my ability to do much of anything in the last couple of years. However, from my comfortable position of doing nothing I can say that we need more educated, forceful legal counsel for psych patients, we need patients to know their rights (as they are not provided with them or given enough time to understand them), and we need more alternatives to incarceration. Frankly, involuntary admissions should not be a thing. Ever. I’ve worked at several crisis lines and had to quit because I couldn’t put myself in the position of being legally obligated to send people against their will to a torturefest that will not help them.

And when this magical help for psychiatric patients occurs, I hope it’s extended to autistic people as well, because places like Judge Rotenberg Center still exist and they’re the development disability parallel to psych wards, just as developmental disabilities are with psychiatric patients and other disabled folks at the bottom of the barrel.

Its just broken. They weren’t all as terrible as the first one, but none of them helped in any way, and ever single one of them made it harder for me, confused me more about my identity, health, wellbeing… how is a hospital like that supposed to help anyone if it’s incapable of ever seeing you?

There is a big difference in psych hospitals. One of my experiences was horrible and traumatic but much better at 2 different other hospitals.

Very scary , Didn’t know what they where gonna do next..

It pretty much ruined my life and I spent over 12 years not really trusting anyone who “cared about me” & wondering if someday my parents and the psychiatrist would turn out to be right (that i would prove to be “ill” and unable to work or live normally). I had regular nightmares, and obsessed over “those years,” was a control freak with low self esteem and occasional panic attacks, worried people would know on sight that I’m “unstable”, and actively avoided having or showing emotions so they would not be spun as “symptoms.” I am down from thinking about this multiple times daily and being on edge all the time, to now (as of the last 3 or so years) having these only when reminded by something or when work is very stressful. I am a dutiful daughter a few times a year but do not have or want a “family relationship” and don’t/wouldn’t trust my parents with personal info ever again. they have no idea i feel this way and consider it a smashing success (i now NO DIAGNOSES, have 3 degrees, am married and have a decent, fulfilling and responsible career. no thanks to that experience).

Providers Need cultural competency in lgbt stuff. Especially trans stuff

I stayed at a peer-run respite for a couple of days in 2016 when I was in crisis, and it was SOOOO much better than the awful hospitalizations.

I think what’s truly disheartening about the whole experience is that I wasn’t believed at the time. The psychiatrist, Randa, had told me personally she didn’t think my abusive family woukd change but if I just waited a few more years I could leave at 18. It was the saddest/hardest news I ever received as a teen. It made me hopeless. They also made it out like I was partly to blame for the abuse even tho both of ny parents were adults and could have been accepting, loving, and supportive from the start. My dad was highly abusive to my mother, my siblings, and myself. Even though it was 4 years ago, I’m still coming to terms with everything that happened. They have this hipnotherapist in Sugarhouse. He’s truly a terrible guy. But they made me feel like there was something wrong with me for always having to defend/stand for myself. I’m processing it and going to therapy but I don’t trust UNI in ways for being dismissive/gaslighting the abuse I was going through and failing to provide resources so I wasn’t in the same situation.

Was given secret inaccurate diagnoses and refused contact with patient advocate

It wasn’t perfect. There’s always room for an improvement. I’m not happy with how I ended up there and how some of the staff treated me in the hospital that I was in before I was transferred to the psych hospital, etc. It was definitely an experience overall and I can say it was good for me. However, I know my experience is not necessarily the most common experience.

I have been forced into psychiatric treatment by false accounts from extremely abusive parents and have suffered from involuntary inpatient and outpatient treatment and subsequent court ordered drugging for 13 years. Psych wards are psychological hell holes and it was pure torture to my humanity and sanity having to be treated for behavior that I literally never even exhibited. Staff are contradictory, demeaning, controlling, abusive, patronizing and wield ultimate power over your fate.

Every time I was hospitalized, I Was helpless to care for myself. I got good care and launched myself back into my life with renewed skills for staying well.

I am doing much better now that I understand my experiences and those experiences of others.

I have been in a pysch hospital 24 times in two years

I based my answers on my involuntary admission as a 13 year old. My voluntary admission at 16 was much better and was extremely helpful.

Since I broke away from the system I have not taken meds, not seen a therapist or psychiatrist, become politically active, published as a writer, resumed my relationship with one of my adult children…I could go on and on.

I just want to share how I am aware that I did not experience the worst of the worst, but the circumstance under which I entered the hospital were questionable at best. I was given a suicide evaluation and deemed stable at the ER, and then within a week of that release had a suicide attempt while I was the same location’s partial hospitalization program. I disclosed during the day program that over the weekend I had an attempt but that I was currently stable. The therapists who were running the group made the decision for me that I was unstable, and placed me in hospitalization without providing me a choice, stating that it was inappropriate to talk about suicide in a group setting, and that I should remember that I can affect those around me, and if I was that unstable, that the best place for me might be in the inpatient treatment program. I was then told to call my parents, and inform them why I had been hospitalized, where they could bring my things, and that I was unsure of when I would be home. I had all my power taken away in a time where I already felt entirely powerless.

I am one of the nicest people, I can’t understand how the abuse still goes on. As a person called “mentally ill” it’s been a nightmare I have no rights I get abuse time time again no one cares. I tell everyone my children if I am ever locked up again I rather die. I am not suicidal but I’d reather DIE

The second time I was sent, there were no beds left. I was kept in a holding room, then a public waiting room into the early hours of the morning. I was transported to an alcohol detox center, though by this time my blood alcohol level was trace. I was given a bed in a communal room where people were yelling and nurses were banging metal cabinets shut. I was not told this hold was voluntary and was told I could not leave. I eventually was able to walk out and was left without a vehicle, at 7am, on an odd end of town having not slept. I was taken against my will and never even got treated.

Should have asked approximate # of times hospitalized…once incarcerated, this involuntary is done repeatedly for all kinds of reasons, for years and sometimes for lifetimes

I was placed in the wrong unit with people with more violent disorders at first and I was terrified. I believe that is why I was there as long as I was

I am the only person I have ever met to have a positive experience in the psych ward/psychiatric hospital. I feel like that’s worth noting.

It wasn’t pleasant, but it did serve as a wake up call to get counseling myself.

The first psych ward I ever went to saved my life. The second psych ward I went to saved my life and my marriage. Neither experience was happy, because healing is never happy. Making the choice to see another day, knowing it and the ones that follow will indubitably be painful, is hard. But psych wards can save lives. It is the closest thing to dying temporarily – to cutting yourself off from the word without permanently severing ties. It can be a relief and often is.

They never listened to my concerns about the medication. Once I got out and stopped, my side effects stopped, including the psychosis.

My psych ward experience was horrific and has left me with trauma. I am now deeply afraid and distrustful of doctors and nurses, and still have nightmares about my time there. I was homeless when I was hospitalized, with $0 dollars to my name and had no identifying information to give about myself besides my name and birthday. Since they knew I could not pay them a single cent, and had no loved ones, they tried to illegally leave me on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and only didn’t because I threatened to kill myself then and there. Later, once they found out they might be able to squeeze some money out of my estranged father, they were suddenly very keep to keep me in the hospital, after months of trying to get rid of me. I was offered no one-on-one therapy, no support, and they actually took away diagnoses I’d been given in the past, claiming there was “nothing wrong with me”, and that I was just a “whiny child”.

I only got to go outside to go between buildings. I missed being outside so much in that week. I get that there are privacy concerns, but the outdoors is so much better than an undecorated windowless room

They really only keep you until you’re not going to hurt yourself or others. Then you’re on your own, trying to find a doctor and therapist that aren’t total quacks. I’ve continued to struggle greatly with my mental health, suicidal ideation and self harm despite these hospital visits.

Awful. The Baker Act needs to be rescinded. The human rights violations that routinely happen in the wealthiest country in the world are mind boggling.

@39 years of diagnosis,in 91’ wife became an advocate for MH,psychotic episode and I tho’t being in hospital would remove me from family triggers and needed med change,I worked 29 years,reared 3 genetically disposed children and stayed married for 48 years. 2 hospital stays a year apart at age 50. I have written a seminar “Mental Health as a Physical Health issue” and know that the brain is an organ and should be treated as such!!

They suck.

Although I was committed because of a suicide attempt, I haven’t been back since. It truly changed my life. I have not attempted since then, and would never attempt. I have a stable job, and I am very close to completing my masters degree. Feel free to contact me

I will never do this again and I will never suggest to anyone going to a ward

I tried to pursue situations legally, with no available help.

I have been in inpatient six times. I received ECT (shock therapy) in one of the hospitals.

First experience was a private hospital and it was great. 2nd was state and scary as hell.

Involuntary Commitment is basically the same as kidnapping, only its legal and “for your own good”.

Yes. Since I was first treated, the quality of inpatient psychiatric care in this country has gone downhill and right into the toilet! I don’t think that many of the “Psychiatrists” know what they are doing – or even believe in the “system” anymore. If I can’t throw a drug at you, or get paid by your insurance for higher ticket items like ECT or TMS, well, tough luck – “sorry we couldn’t help you, good luck, stay well – here’s a referral!”

Worst experience of my life. Death is preferable.

With regard to question whether or not the hospitalization saved my life. My life was saved but by the good people, family members and PhD EP-Humanistic talk therapist I had advocating for me at the times not the actual hospitalization. Also, once I was given a PA State Appointed attorney who I guess would be considered employed as a patient advocate but he was totally worthless and proved to be a State rep who knew nothing about me, the patient or my circumstances to represent me. I found out about the required hearing and met him 5 minutes before the hearing literally. HORRENDOUS patient so-called advocacy!

There was a sort of comfort in confinement, but it overall the experience was degrading, humiliating, inhumane and condescending.

My familay and high school conspired against me in 1981. So this has been brewing a long time. I have tried to apologize to everyone I offended but it took me more than thirty five years to understand what has happened. I want restorative justice but no one is even willing to talk about that as a possibility. I do feel like a scapegoat. I got run over in the driveway in 1966 and my mom was negligent. I grew up with her calling me clown names: Bonzert, Cakey, and Poosey. These names did not inspire any self confidence to say the least. Also my mom made sure that I wrote in my autobiography that the driveway accident was my own fault, even though I was only a toddler in 1966. She also told me I was ambidextrous when I asked her why I threw right handed but wrote with my left hand. The truth is that I had been brain injured in the accident. She never got an official diagnosis NC that would have made her officially negligent. Btw, it was my mom who drove me to Lindbergh to get my SMI diagnosis, which very conveniently seems to take her off the hook for all of the trouble that I have been tricked into. I argue that I was easily tricked NC I have always been gullible and naive NC of my TBI. NC is supposed to be because…sorry.

I believe my experience in the psych ward was as neutral/positive as it was because I was incredibly passive and willing to do what the medical team wished. The idea of my current self being hospitalised is much more frightening because I would likely no longer be seen as a compliant patient.

it was horrible, unmanaged, hateful, and stupid

No, except to reiterate the distinction between the quality of drug / medication care I received (excellent — brought be out of a suicidal depression), with all the other “therapy” provided — utter and inane bullshit addressing solely the issue of drug and alcohol addiction; this was in a mental hospital, not a rehab facility of any kind. Further, it is the only mental hospital available in my area (the first facility I was admitted to was some sort of Crisis Intervention Facility, and they too solely addressed drug and alcohol addiction. No mention of any other mental disturbances.

My experience with psychiatry is one that I never want to repeat – much of my life destroyed by ECT – much of my life lived as though it never happened due to over-drugging and ECT. Not until the shocks were discontinued and the drugs ceased did I begin to live again while wondering what in the world had happened to me and how did so much of my life disappear.

Over the course of my adult life, I’ve had about two dozen hospitalizations. I’ve never been properly diagnosed. I have come to understand my condition as a byproduct of the trauma I experienced as a result of being in a violent relationship as a young woman. I reject the big pharma/medical model that suggests I was born with a broken brain. My brain is a powerful instrument that protects me and opens a path for me to escape into a fantasy world when the world’s stress is too much for me to bear. For that I am thankful and grateful. Unfortunately, I must share this experience with the psychiatric ward/hospital industrial complex. It has gotten better over the years, as I’ve become somewhat of a seasoned pro at this and know what to expect. It would be terrific if the psychiatric profession would become as enlightened about my condition as I am. Hope springs eternal. Maybe this survey will help. Thanks for doing this.

This is not my experience. It is the experience of my son who received brain damage at age 16 in an auto accident and has spent 25 years for a crime that may or may not have been committed..

I checked myself in both times and I am glad I did. First I was suffering mania but had not been dx’ed. They did not dx me, but gave me antidepressants. I was able to finally rest and checked myself out. The second time, I knew I was bipolar but the meds had stopped working. Again, they only gave me antidepressants, but I was able to get rest. I checked myself out after 12 days when I realized how easy it was to just let someone else take care of me. That is not a life. I found a great therapist that helped me face and resolve the traumas from childhood and how to navigate the hard things of everyday life. While I am glad I had the opportunity to rest, I feel that MI issues should be much more affordable to people outside of hospitals so the person can lead productive lives without the hospitalizations. Hospitals are stopgaps and are wonderful for that, but one still has to live outside in the ‘real’ world. It is how we live every day lives that is important. Hospitals should be for those who are unable to cope, most on a short term, but some may need long term. I wish the hospital had given me more resources and had dx’ed me the first visit so they could have treated my illness better. I feel I was more of an experiment and warehoused. Only those who were getting ECT seemed to actually be getting treatment.

Most of the staff and nurses I encountered were helpful and compassionate. The doctors/psychiatrists pushed the drugs and often said how lucky we are to have them.

I was originally discharged from hospital after having contracted ARDS and being in a medically induced coma. Doctors gave me 6 different medications to control my supposed anxiety when coming out of the coma. Instead of addressing my severe uncontrolled physical pain they kept adding psych drugs. Never having been on these drugs in my life, I didn’t know what was going on. I was on haldol, Ativan, zyprexa, seroquel, lithium and Zoloft. This sent me back to the hospital where they stopped all drugs immediately. Cold turkey withdrawal for 3 weeks in psych ward was a nightmare.

The doctor (psychiatrist) was very helpful during my involuntary hospitalization. Years later, I realized he was aware that it was the medications I had been prescribed that led to my suicidality and chronic illness. He made an effort during our conversation to lead me to the information I needed to figure this out myself. He was a dissident psychiatrist.

I hope the mental health system can be reformed so others will not have to endure the horrific experiences I have.

I have been hospitalized between 13-15 times, I’ve lost count. Aside from psych/medical admissions following an overdose, where the medical treatment was required for my physical health, I believe that my hospitalizations have been hugely counterproductive and traumatizing. Staff members have often treated me very poorly- I’ve been denied my clothing. Once staff brought in opposite gender security guards and threatened to have them hold me down to cut off my bra if I didn’t take it off voluntarily. I was sexually harassed and groped by another patient and not believed by the staff when I reported it. Staff have mis-administered my medication. “Treatment” was neither evidence based or patient centered. It often consisted of a CNA having us color or watch a movie as “socializing”. The medication prescribed was unhelpful in almost every case and antidepressants increased my suicidality. I could not in good conscience recommend inpatient psychiatric treatment to anyone short of true medical emergency (such as overdose or psychosis to the point of danger).

The staff were kind and supportive and help me get emotional stronger. They respected my personal preference and worked with me fairly.

I was hospitalized three different times, each within a different medical organization. All three organizations failed to diagnose my PTSD and instead hyper-focused on my symptoms (which didn’t get better because those symptoms were fueled by my untreated PTSD). From the very beginning, multiple doctors sternly told me to not discuss my past and that the past was nothing more than a way to avoid the hard work of the present. As a result, I didn’t realize the significance of an accidental death I witnessed up close before I was even five years old. Many years later, another doctor (who wasn’t even a mental health specialist) connected the dots, and upon speaking of it for the very first time, I nearly collapsed to the floor.

The quality of care varied wildly: the most expensive organization involved the most professional care by far. In the other two cases, I saw numerous examples of professionals who seemed burned out and/or very cynical. I felt those individuals needed therapy themselves or needed to get out of the profession, altogether.

Nightmare. Whole system needs to be changed. Read all the articles in Mad in America – that is the way to go. Banish psych drugs and psych hospitals. Look to Sweden and places like Satoria house for examples.

Every time I was hospitalized, besides twice, I didn’t need to be in the hospital. Most of the time I tried to get into the hospital as a way to escape my living environment because even the psych ward was better than where I was living. I wasn’t abused in the psych ward and could be relatively safe from my abuser (who was my treatment provider) there versus at home which was her home.

Would never go again

I have been hospitalized over 35 times since late 1999. I would like to share my experiences if able too. I can give detailed experiences and stories about my various times and treatments. Have been on numerous medications, have done both ECT and TMS, Cog, DBT therapies. I would like to tell my story to someone. I am diagnosed as both Bipolar II and or Schizo-affective. Thank you, Christine Bogle

To specify as a teen I was admitted to The Bridgway for running away from home and for suicidal thoughts. I was again admitted in my early 20’s at the Unity Health facility for a suicide attempt and finally at age 25 I was admitted to UAMS to their psychiatric ward due to drug induced psychosis caused by a suicide attempt and mental/physical torture from an abusive spouse.

Some of the doctors and nurses and staff are evil. But I did have a few nurses that really cared and made me feel safe. I was in Binghamton General for 2 months almost and liked a few nurses. Patients are scary and should be stayed away from which I learned too late.

Had a few problems with pts rights being violated and i called sacromento..i really enjoyed attending groups when in hospital

One positive…a substitute psychiatrist, covering for an absent doc, was a good match for me and I continue to see him. NOT happy with the hospital, AM happy with him. (He’s not on their staff.)

I was “lucky”. I had insurance coverage & am from an affluent family who paid most of the costs. My experiences were mixed. I received exceptionally good care in a specialized trauma program at a then nonprofit hospital. However, the vast majority of times I was hospitalized I was not helped I was harmed. The treating psychiatrist the very first time I was hospitalized wrote in my chart: “(patient) is angry again today, what’s new?” A direct quote. I have copies of all my medical records. The psychiatrist’s tone is equal to the “care” provided; judgemental & harsh!

Not one person asked what was going on in my life while admitted, I knew once I was in I should not have been there, but had to follow protocall in order to be approved to leave. I felt I had no voice. It took a friend afterward who listened to help me navigate what was going on in my head once I got out – they sat me down to watch a video of Robert Whitaker speaking on Psychiatric drugs, and that was the beginning of my education. If I had not listened to this person and their passion, I would still be taking lexapro – but the information was presented to me for ME to make an informed decision whether to continue or not, they did not judge me and only wanted to inform me and support me. Shouldn’t my doctors have told me both in hospital and out, the truth about this medication? One therapist once out of hospital wanted me to stay on Lexapro and said it can take 6 weeks up to start working, and I had to educate her from what I learned on that video! I am so happy that I learned that the “chemical imbalance” I had was told I had was not true, that it was in fact all the very life changing events that were happening in my life and that I was understandably overwhelmed, I am so grateful my friend for listening and hearing me.

Was just horrible. One of the most traumatic experiences in my life.

I thought it was voluntary but when they found out about my insurance, suddenly it was involuntary and I was in for 4 days – which is what my insurance would pay for. I missed two days of work without being able to contact anyone and could have lost my job. The psych visits happened as the doctor walked across the common room and looked at us. They disagreed with the diagnosis I’ve had for years and tried to change my meds on the spot. (I refused because I wanted to get information about the meds first and I wasn’t allowed to do this). The nurses seemed a little better, and the cafeteria manager was the best person on the staff! I was totally traumatized and I would never NEVER go back, even if I needed the help. I would do anything to keep out of that hospital. It was about the worst experience of my life, and it made my issues much worse, not better. They just wanted my money and I got no good medical care. Even the things I told them helped me – being outside, getting exercise, etc – those were refused to me. I ended up going out with the smokers (I don’t smoke) just to get outside and get a little sunshine. Really the worst experience of my life.

I was once injected with haldol in my chest.. bad experience

Refused to get me meds. Effexor xr cause me to go into withdrawal. I was taking 5 75mg a day. Came home on 5 different meds. Currently today I can not stop taking effexor xr due to with draw.

I was in hospital twice, once after suicide attempt. It felt like a punishment. I am better now, but would rather die by suicide than go to the hospital ever again.

Human beings should never be treated that way. I am still dealing with trauma. Currently living in denmark due to fear of ever going back to a mental hospital in the states

It’s tragic this is the best the United States has to offer.

I am writing a book to be published on Amazon soon called “The Personal is Political: A Story of Survival and Discovery. In it I tell about how drugs nearly killed me and when I went off them I ended in the hospital and how for 20 I do fine with light and dark treatment of bipolar disorder.

Only to be used as last resort where genuine risk to self or others and still potentially exacerbates situation. There are effective talk therapies that are too little used.

Although Brunswick was not the “snake pit,” I can’t stress enough how horrible it was to be ripped of all control over my life and treated without any respect or dignity

Try to avoid going to hospital if possible. It was never helpful.

If it is within my power, I will never ever allow myself to be coerced into going to one of those places ever again. My God, what horrific things that go on in those places.

They should be shut down and banned

I don’t doubt that there have been some people working at psych units who helped me a great deal. I have also met (and seen) some egregious displays of abuse, disempowerment, and wholesale violation of human rights). However, in the 30 years since my first admission, inpatient psychiatry seems to have become even more restrictive, clinically-focused, and anti-human rights. The “anti-stigma” campagns we see in the media always point to a ‘lack of beds’ as the big problems, but the real, empowering and enriching answers to people in crisis or at risk is ignored.

I wanted to just skip Question 14; software wouldn’t allow; I have no response really. Because there had been a successful suicide at McLean, I was kept overly long, signed out AMA, this all a long time ago, mid 1960’s

It was 20 years ago. Nice facility, kind staff. My private psychiatrist left his office 4 days a week to come see me at the hospital. Had insurance which paid 50%. At least in Colorado this kind of care is no longer available, even if you could pay privately.

Horrible violent dirty

I had about 12 hospitalizations in 20 years. Most were involuntary but I always took their drugs. It was during my last 2 that I refused the drugs…this led to the Court Order. Until then (2016) I did not know that could happen. I am fighting back now with a vengeance. I started the facebook page “Coalition To End Forced Psychiatric Drugging”.

They don’t listen to patients. It felt an awful lot like I imagine prison feels. Overall, I was treated like I didn’t exist or matter.

Too painful to reply

The shrink saw me for less than 10 min and added a new diagnosis and wanted to prescribe new psych meds. Also wound up w/ a bill from him that took years to pay off.

My experiences have been extremely traumatic with little help from client rights specialists. I am a disabled veteran and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services refuses to recognize my Veterans Psychiatric Medical Records in my treatment.

It saved my life simply because I was in a safe place without access to things I could use to kill myself. I was extremely suicidal and being there really only served me by giving me a safe place to work through those feelings enough that I could be safe leaving. The actual therapy done in the hospital is useless. I strongly feel that hospitals should provide more one on one therapy to individuals than group therapy because even if it’s a short duration, that type of crisis counseling can be monumental in helping someone take the next step towards finding a therapist outside of the hospital if they don’t already have one.

I worked on an inpatient floor for two years and although there was issues what I experienced was so so much more horrorific. I was in seclusion at timesLsurelwood Windsor. I fear ECT. I have memory gaps,

I was a whistleblower, terminated, blacklisted and threatened at an MGH competitor hospital. I’m a doctorally educated nursing administrator, and I’m aware of standards of practice and care for psychiatric inpatient facilities. The treatment I received did not meet any of the standards. I did complain, and the patient rep is actually a risk manager who is accountable to the employer – not patients. The retaliation I experienced was longlasting and devastating – it caused physical harms and placed me at risk relative to finances and housing. Diagnoses were fabricated, and clearly announced as such, to retain control. Other patients were aware and volunteered that they saw staff mistreating me and did not see any reason why. I obtained the medical records, and they also are clear about the behavior I perceived as mistreatment as being intentionally demeaning, prejudiced and humiliating by multiple staff members across disciplines.

Because the electronic medical record is available to anyone in the Partners system,I changed my care to be out of it as much as possible. I also realized that I have lost the ability to trust any provider, and I no longer seek any type of healthcare outside of surgical emergencies.

I felt safe in the psychiatric ward even though there may have been people that seemed violent. The staff was always aware and did act accordinly.

I remember all of use felt like we were being placed in a holding cell. It was voluntary, but when I showed signs of increasing distress, rather than help me feel better, I was reminded that I’d signed a contract not to self harm and threatened to be send upstairs to the locked ward where the people with “real problems” go. Treatment was weapon brandished to control our behavior. It’s made it difficult to connect to even the most respectful, well-meaning mental health practitioners ever since.

The experiences we’re crushing to my body, mind and soul.

Yes. My husband (who understands me because he has PTSD from combat in Vietnam), and I drove to Nevada, Missouri in May 2014, and walked on the grounds where that huge mental institution used to be. I have pictures he took of me, standing where the insane asylum was. Wow. It was amazing. But I kept wondering, where did all the people go? So many of them could not fend for themselves, they had no family that cared. There needs to be an answer better than locking you up and throwing away the key, or shoving you out on the streets. Most of all, the hateful stigma against “mental illness” needs to be eradicated. We need to learn to CARE for the mentally challenged: with Compassion, Acceptance, Respect, and Encouragement. (I made that up but you may use it if you like, with credit to @LadyQuixote ) God bless you, MAD means so much to me!

I felt the hospitals were classist. I was told by nurses, “You’re more educated and together than most of these patients. They’ll probably be back in a few months.” Generally a condescending attitude toward people diagnosed with mental illness, like we needed to be good do-bes and behave. Also some of the therapies were silly — drawing your happy place, having a dog come in so we could pet it…puh-leez!

I almost forgot– and this is very important. At one hospital one of the staff told the assembled patients that “mental illness is incurable.” How’s that for eliminating all hope? I raised my hand and said not only did I not believe that, but I didn’t think it was right to demoralize us like that. (Later, privately, I again heard that line that as a middle-class professional, it might not apply to me.)

At the age of 21 I was told by a hospital doctor that I would never have a normal life due to recurrent depression and should drop out of college and go on disability. This has not been the case and I now have an advanced degree and am fully functional with no mental health problems. Some of the hospital staff tried to talk me into ECT. Trauma issues were totally ignored in the hospital and I was told I had biologically-based mental illnesses that would follow me for life. I was heavily medicated and when I complained about the adverse effects I was either ignored or given additional medication. I found that as a patient my voice and preferences were ignored.

I just wanted to point out that there are some flaws in this survey. My very first hospitalization, as I answered on the survey was when I was 16-17 years old and I was in the hospital for about 3 months. Obviously my education level was under high school education. I was not hospitalized again until I was in my 30’s, when I had a Master’s degree and was employed full time. I thought that was more relevant and I answered the questions based on my hospitalizations in my 30’s, which were numerous over a span of 2 years. The survey is challenging because not every hospitalization was the same experience, and does not account for the different experience as a teen compared to an adult. I’m not sure what the goal is with the survey, but your results might not be the best or as informative as you would like.

My experience was probably not typical (if there is such a thing) but I’m willing to talk about it if that can help anyone. It’s been almost 10 years of PTSD therapy and healing, but no meds. I’m not mentally ill but what this experience taught me about the abuse and lack of rights this population experiences is absolutely haunting. If there’s ever a way to use my story to undermine that system, I’m here for it.

I have Lyme & Co. and was misdiagnosed with Bipolar. Meds, all of them, made me very sick. I was labeled “atypical” but nobody helped me figure this out.

Now that I have, my Pdoc and PCP are labeling me “non-compliant” since I tapered off all psych drugs.

Be proactive with your own mental-health. We are dealing with a very broken and antiquated system that appears to use outdated and sometimes still barbaric procedures with modern day policies that do not mesh.

one of my biggest goals in life is to get involved in system feedback, and reform.

The main thing I learned was that I didn’t need a hospital to feel “safe” or “better”. The hospital did motivate me to develop my own support system and explore ways to take care of myself.

After 12 years of fully compliant medication I had been hospitalized seven times . Never advised that the mood stabilizer was Benzene a petroleum product . Now it has leached into my bone marrow . I wish to sue Integris and R.Muali Krishna for harm.

It was a first step in helping me on a road to full recovery. I became much worse before I got better. The social workers in hospital helped more than anything and sparked an interest in holistic methods that I had not been aware of before. I am grateful for that.

The shocks continued for 3 more years as an outpatient, resulting in complex PTSD. Still have nightmares, still have hypervigilance and various triggers when having to have medical procedures. The doctor should have been put in prison for hurting me and many others. This was all 50 years ago, but I still suffer greatly from what they did. I was never readmitted to a mental hospital, but my husband and I have spent a lot of money for psychotherapy and counseling to try to help me get over the trauma. I am lucky to have survived at all, and doubly lucky to have had something of a life, but I still suffer and grieve over what happened. The shock doctor never asked me what was going on in my family, and my parents lied to him. They were both functional alcoholics and in our home there was much verbal and emotional abuse. The doctor did not offer counseling — just shocks and drugs. Of course this was over 50 years ago, but the trauma has never gone away.

Someday, in a book… I hope this questionnaire will Do some good 🙂 thanks

The psychosis I was undergoing due to poor treatment was very traumatic, so being in or out of the hospital in those days made no difference. In my last hospitalization, I got on a medication that actually worked, and was referred to new treatment providers who I could work with and trust, unlike the doctor I met in the hospital, who forced me to keep seeing him under the threat of further hospitalizations, and who argued with a major belief of mine during one of my first appointments, leading me not to trust him from that point on. In my last hospitalization, they had me see a different doctor.

Accused of being passive aggressive because I missed a therapy appointment while inpatient. Overheard staff counselors saying they’d consulted their psychics about interesting “cases” they were going to see, including multiple personality patients. I was guided and led to believe that my father molested me because of dreams I’d had. This was false.

The tramatic experience I felt was so overwhelming I can not begin to undertsand or make it relavent so anyone would or could understand it.

Please contact me. I was deprived of water at MGH in Boston in 2011 on Blake 11. This was legal torture and they claimed it was treatment. I have contacted Liz Kowalkski of the Boston Globe and told her to interview me but she never wrote back. The Massachusetts state legislature told me that MGH treated me so badly I should have called the cops from the psych ward. Let’s have the other side of this psych ward story told! It’s about time! I am usually off Mondays and Thursdays. Please give me a call. Also willing to talk about it on podcast. Just to show you I give a good presentation.

After initial crisis intervention which was ok, Second hospitalization ruined my life.

Traumatic. Awful. Unprofessional staff. Obscenely medicated into oblivion. One staff member told me she was in the kgb and was spying on me. Westwood lodge was a shitshow. Dangerous place. Psychiatry is dangerous as fuck. Destroys lives. But a lot of wonderful people work there. I once had nine people hold me down while twenty mg of haldol was injected into me. Twenty freakin mg. That’s a death sentence. Also I was attacked by several patients. And threatened. Psychiatry is dangerous as fuck. Destroys lived.

I don’t feel secure submitting email or phone number via this app, or any common app. Perhaps you could offer a phone number or a person to contact, on the website.

No matter what kind of education or training they have, people who are mean or abusive will do nothing but damage if they are employed as mental health workers. That is true for every level, from aides all the way up to doctors; people with bad personalities will never be helpful if they are working in the psychiatric industry. personality makes all the difference as far as what effect they will have on the people in their charge.

It could have been much worse & it could have been much better. I am grateful I was working & able to afford any care. Now that I am not working, I miss the benefits (health, monetary, social, etc).

The system pretty much chewed me up and spit me out. When the way they wanted to help me didn’t work instead of communicating with me to figure out the best way to help for real most clinicians have just labeled me either treatment-resistant or ‘too difficult to work with.’ I know many people have trouble getting out of the hospital but where I was they were pretty happy to let me leave.

The quality of care varied greatly depending on the hospital, the staff, and even the unit in which I was placed. In my experience, the majority of staff are understanding, supportive people but unfortunately the minority that don’t care or don’t have the ability to do their job well can undermine the overall treatment

I’m concerned that this survey doesn’t adequately capture my experience because I’ve been hospitalized multiple times and it’s difficult to speak for all of them in one question, the diagnoses were different at different places, and the question didn’t capture all of them. Also, while technically “voluntary” I was a teenage self-harmer, and was told I had no other options for help and my parent didn’t accept me staying in the house unless I “got help” each time she found out I had done that. I also lost my employment and housing because I voluntarily went into a hospital as an adult, and had to be rehospitalized repeatedly because there were issues with the medication prescribed and I had no stable housing or outpatient treatment. (The time that was more voluntary as an adult was a different experience- but the rest never felt voluntary.)

Also, I have internal biases about what kind of treatment I deserve. I don’t know if any of this is relevant, because I’m not sure what the survey is trying to prove, but I figured I’d mention that.

nope. they saved my life multiple times by admitting me

Like i said, it was mostly boring.

It saved my life, as it physically prevented me from killing myslef, but accomplished little more. The doctor nearly gave me the wrong diagnosis and medication, but luckily I had enough mental health knowledge to correct his mistake. There was very little clinical treatment, and seemed more like a warehouse. We were required to sign in to “group therapy” (even if not participating) where we were supposed to be painting our nails or doing crafts, just so our insurance could be billed.

I was misdiagnosed prior to coming into the hospital. My past history of trauma was never considered in the treatment. The treatment was also very one sided, I was told to do things, they never asked for my opinion as it related to my healing process.

I am not against hospitalization, but i think they need to be improved (some drastically, some a little). They could be really beneficial for people if they had more humane treatment in lots of cases.

I don’t think they should be diagnosing in there. That was a major problem I had. I was given a “permanent” diagnosis for a temporary state. And you just can’t easily withdraw from mood stabilizers. I hear articles about antidepressants and antipsychotic withdraw, which I’ve done… The worst withdraw I had with AD’s I was curled up on a basement floor writing a letter in my head and figuring out which building to jump off of. But benzos and mood stabilizers are worse because they basically gave me what they were supposedly treating me for. It basically took me years to successfully withdraw from depakote. I actually never had a problem switching or just dropping antipsychotics.

Anyways. The experience I had was a medication problem, and not with patients or nurses. The nurses were actually great. They had nice activities and I did appreciate fellow crazies and sleeping and eating on a good schedule. I’d like to go back one day and play guitar one day to make people feel better and let them know things can get entirely better. I also went from a full time job to disabled after the hospital.

there should be another place where people can go to be safe when in crisis other than going to a prison like hospital. the only thing the hospital did was put more and more medication into me that i hated.

I was psychiatrically misdiagnosed and drugged to cover up medical evidence of a “bad fix” on a broken bone and medical evidence of the abuse of my child by unethical and paranoid of a non-existent malpractice doctors.

I was abused mentally at age 11 while inpatient, I was forced into a padded room alone during a severe panic attack, I wasnt being violent or doing anything that warranted me being in there, and I definitely shouldn’t have been locked in there alone, it traumatized me and ever since I cant be in closed rooms alone without panicing, I also was told several times that my family’s abuse to me wasnt abuse, and had multiple doctors and social workers interrogate me on it or deny that I was abused or say it wasnt abuse, this included a doctor at the burnett campus telling me that my sister trying to stab me wasnt a big deal because im not dead.

in terms of the quality of care overall I’d rate lindner by far the highest, my only major problem there was the lack of advocacy when I came forward about my abuse, 2nd would be college hill, where the mistreatment varied and sometimes it was ok, and the worst was burnett where most of my experiences were very negative.

one other thing was when I was at college hill on an adolescent unit, the fire alarm went off and the staff didnt do anything despite not saying if it was a drill or not.

I wish that I could’ve gotten the doctors and social workers who mistreated me in trouble, they hurt me in a way that destroyed my life when I tried desperately to come forward about abuse, and I havent recovered mentally to this day, my cptsd has driven me to near suicide constantly.

They put me on government benefits which has ruined my career growth

Staff was phenomenal, I just wish my psychiatrist didn’t try to up my dose so fast. I was a senior in high school when I was admitted, and it saved my life. I tried to voluntarily check myself in this past year, and the emergency room couldn’t find a place with an open bed for me. I really wish I could have been admitted again, I really needed it.

I did not behave appropriately or respectfully during my involuntary commitments. I was belligerent and abusive to the staff who were remarkably tolerant. That said, I was not treated for my mental illness nor was I helped in accessing treatment. The most helpful thing that I experienced was total disdain from a psychiatrist that somehow increased my commitment to recovery. I became resolved never to return.

I felt the majority of the staff were very well trained and empathetic. Due to the limited number of staff, past problems and use of facilities by multiple groups, we didn’t consistently get to use physical fitness areas. There was a fenced outside area, but we weren’t allowed to use it for some reason. Being inside for over a week was detrimental to my recovery.

Nurses never came out from behind bulletproof glass. Just pharmacists, really — did no nursing.

Didn’t change suicidality, utilized treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy with permanent side effects. Only physically prevented suicide when suicide would’ve taken weeks anyway.

with my first psychiatric admission. they told me if i dont sign in volantarly they will force me involentarly. threatened me if i dont take their drugs they will go to court to force me to take them…my body went into shock when i was first admitted. i had horrible expereinces at all 4 of my hospitalizations. i was treated disrespectfully and dehumanizes….very traumatic..they did nothing for me except drug me with high dosages of antipsychotics and mood stabilzers….none of my hospitalzations were helpful to me. i am not crippled mentally. cant work anymore and have brain damage from the drugs…tried to get off them but kept relapsing. no one told me i should slow taper them went to fast.

There was a dr that demaned the nurses line up his pts in the hallway. Which meant they weren’t in group therapy they were standing in the. The people conducting grpoups, didn’t want to start group cause there were less then 10 attending.
I never got a wrist ban, and the kept trying to give anothers meds. Now that person had been a week before me.

When, ‘o when, will I be set free?

Imperceivable how psychiatic hospitalization is therapeutic for suicidal depression, or for most disorders given high levels of iatrogenic trauma

Why is it OK that (name removed) gets to keep all her money but she has forever taken away my peace of mind and safety? Why is there no justice for the human rights abuser and torturer (name removed). Why is she rewarded for her life of torturing others and destroying lives? There is no justice in this world.

I can’t say enough good things about the staff that worked with me during my time in psychiatric care. The main issue I experienced (and continue to attempt to work through) is the billing process, which has been a nightmare and the main reason why I would not encourage family/friends to seek this level of care unless they’re experiencing severe psychosis.

When I was admitted as a kid, they reported to CPS even though they knew I didn’t want to talk to the police. I didn’t want anyone to get into trouble, so I lied to CPS. The therapist and staff didn’t hide their anger and frustration with me afterwards, and discharged me a few days later back to the care of the person that, days before, they were angry at me for not telling the police they hurt me. It felt like they thought I deserved it, and my life became 10x worse because of the blowback from my family over the CPS investigation I caused. It was hell.

I was 18, (I’m now 69)I believed them, it took many years to shed the psychiatric label and accept myself and realize it was up to me to have a life. Psychiatry does more harm than good.

i would of had a better experience, and spent less money, if i instead booked a Caribbean vacation. i was lucky to be on medicaid. doctors were close-minded, authoritarian, not open to alternatives, and not willing to see how my life situation was impacting my mental health. i stopped taking the medications within a few weeks of leaving the hospital as the side effects were bad and there were no positives. i ultimately moved to a better situation in another state and found other ways to cope. i now avoid all doctors like the plague, except for the urgent care centers when im physically sick or hurt. the psych profession is pretty much dead to me.

Have needed subsequent treatment but stayed at home due to the lack of proper facilities and treatment in central Texas

Men and women were not separated in this ward, except at night. There were several patients who had history of inappropriate or even illegal sexual behavior, and one of them was continuously harassing me. No staff member stopped this, even when I asked for help.

The night I arrived, the required me to have an EKG (I asked why and was not given an answer). They did this from my bed, which was not in a private room. I was told to remove my shirt and bra. I asked if I could have a hospital gown so that my breast would not be fully exposed, I was told no. I was also made to take my pants and underwear off and do several squats during my intake. The person in charge of that part of my intake was a student, not under direct supervision.

We had to get permission to use the bathroom during the day. Sometimes the staff would not let us go. One day they made a particular elderly patient wait so long that he had an accident in his pants. This same man was also being badly bullied by other patients and no one ever intervened.

A patient was threatened with solitary confinement because she asked to speak with the patient advocate and got upset when she was told no.

Someone asked a staff member why our complaints and concerns weren’t taken seriously by higher staff members, and he said “why should anyone take you seriously? You are mental patients.”

An electrical worker came in to do some work or repairs in the ward, and he was allowed unsupervised contact with the patients. When someone asked what he was doing, he said “installing cameras for the FBI to spy on you” and laughed, and otherwise taunted patients.

When a staff member took the rest of the patients outside for a cigarette break, I asked not to go because I don’t like being around the smoke. She said okay but no one wanted to watch me, so I was locked alone in the day room. She forgot to unplug the landline phone, so I used that opportunity to call my mom, and begged her to please find a way to get me out because I was frightened due to the unchecked aggressive behavior of a particular patient, and also because of the sexual harassment I was experiencing from other patients, and the cavalier attitudes of the staff.

When I got to leave, I was worse off than when I had arrived.

2 helped and 2 didn’t

Only consensual psychiatry should be legal.

Police assaulted me in my own home and lied about it.

I filed an official complaint through the county, the complaint was deemed unfounded. I thought one of the three sheriff deputies involved in the assault would have the moral courage to tell the truth that i did not begin “to fight” them. They had me partially surrounded in the hallway in my own home. I attempted to move so as to not feel surrounded and then they assaulted me.

The police report was I think the justification the Catholic hospital and county used to justify my psychiatric abuse.

According to psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, “psychiatric coercion is medicalized terrorism”.

Thank you for having this survey.

My overall functionality took a nose dive after my first hospitalization. I entered with a GAF of 87, and left with a 45. My self injury worsened significantly. I suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation. I cannot even be in a room that is visually similar to the one I had at Rush without breaking down.

Note: Of the 486 survey respondents, only approoximately 250 chose to answer the final question.