Seaside Mental Health

Name of Facility: Seaside Mental Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I have been in several mental hospitals, sometimes voluntarily, sometimes stressed and against my will. It’s never a pleasant experience and it’s easy to get mad and take it out on the hospital. THAT’S NOT THE CASE WITH THIS FACILITY. This is the most neglectful, abusive facility I have ever been in. A short list of experiences:

– Being mocked by staff including for saying if the TV was going to be on 24/7 in every room I needed anxiety medication or a place to sit and get away from it.

– Observed a mentally disabled man get tackled and taken to that sleep room to be tied to the table a while because he was making too much noise about missing his momma (shouting and hitting the walls with his palms).

– Asked to contact a gratis lawyer about the conditions there, Staff shut off the private phone and pretended they didn’t know why it didn’t work, forcing me to do the call at the front desk where they could listen. It successfully intimidated me out of making the complaint.

-They repeatedly ignored requests for access to a doctor or therapist. I was there five days, I don’t think I went to a single therapy group.

– Eventually I was assaulted and punched repeatedly by another patient, who had already physically attacked someone else and was giving major signs of agitation. Staff did nothing to help them and also nothing to separate them from other patients.

– The kitchen was broken at the time that I was inpatient. Staff served shit that varied from cold but ok deli meals to like a single slice of american cheese on bread with thin Campbell’s soup and complained loudly about how they weren’t driving across town to get seconds or more food when it turned out there wasn’t enough.

When staff learned I was lgbt, at one point they refused to buzz my girlfriend out unless I kissed her goodbye. It was played off as cutesy but functionally was two men forcing two nonmen to kiss when we already had said our goodbyes. 

Easily the worst location I have ever, ever been. This place should be shut down and it’s employees going back to like 2016 need to be criminally charged.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: lgbt, was brought in against my will

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2016

Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Name of Facility: Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): New Haven, CT, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was involuntarily committed for a week, two months before I turned 18. Despite being a college student, I was placed in an adolescent ward with mostly high schoolers. The youngest person there was 13. Group sessions often focused on things which were not relevant to me, like graduation anxiety. Otherwise, they were fairly useless and involved mindfulness (detrimental to my particular dissociative neurodivergence) and show-and-tell. I was told that the adult ward might have groups which were more relevant to me (about money and careers), plus the adults were allowed to drink coffee (which was a part of my daily routine as a college student), but I was not considered adult enough for any of that, because I was not actually 18. My social worker tried to make a case that I should be allowed to attend group with the adults, but it never happened.

The nurses were the worst part of the experience. When I arrived, one insisted upon making conversation with me in a way that made me uncomfortable, including commenting on my scars. He was much larger than me and told me he was ex-military, which exacerbated my discomfort. He also kept reentering my personal space when I backed away, until the point where I was quite literally backed against a wall, and then he told me that my instinctual fighting stance (which I learned in a self-defense class) was unnecessary and that I shouldn’t be so aggressive when he was trying to help me.

The manual I was given said that the nurse’s station could provide anti-itching cream for healing scars. I left my room in the middle of the night once to ask for some, and I was regarded with suspicion and had to insist multiple times that I was attempting to follow the program, including by asking for cream as instructed instead of scratching.

I gave the nurses instructions not to allow my parents to visit me, and they reacted apprehensively and continuously tried to coax me into changing my mind. When my parents tried to visit, they continued to pressure me to see them, telling me that I was “working against my own success” by not saying yes. So I saw them and we got into a shouting match as tends to happen when you don’t have a good relationship with your parents, and then the staff told me I shouldn’t have yelled at them and heavily implied that being so “dysfunctional” would count against me. One tried to be sympathetic and started a conversation about how my dysfunctional relationship with my parents led me to being committed, but when I said my parents were actually not a huge reason for why I was there, she left and was no longer interested.

The way the system works there is that cooperating gains you privileges and allows you to eventually be cleared for release, whereas not cooperating is counted against you. Wake-up was much earlier in the morning than I was used to waking up, and I knew that group was optional, so I slept in on my first day. I was later told, again, that I was “working against my own success” in not abiding by the recommended schedule. I was also told the same thing when I brought up my anxiety about missing school to be in the hospital, since I had already been struggling in my classes before then. During one notable instance, I was told by a member of my care team not to go to group, so we could meet–the fact that I did not attend group was also counted against me, despite the circumstances. I have also always been a huge crier, and I cried non-stop for the first few days that I was there… and I was also consistently reprimanded for it, because it somehow demonstrated that I was not committed to becoming sane.

Cell phones were not allowed there, so I had to use one of the two available (grimy) phones, and only during phone hours, within earshot of a staff member. We were not allowed to make long distance calls, which was a problem because the numbers for my school had a different area code. I pleaded with them to call my school and inform them where I was, but they refused. Phone calls were only supposed to be 15 minutes long but they were lax about it, and I got away with hour+ long calls multiple times. However I was also told I should be more sociable with others and not be preoccupied with my outside life.

At first, meals are standardized and served on trays. There was also pudding and jello to have as a snack. Gaining status by being cooperative allows you to leave the floor to eat in the cafeteria among patients from other wards (although you can only sit with your own ward). The food options there are significantly better and more varied, although not great quality. With status, you also get the option of going outdoors during specific times into a fenced grass courtyard with some deflating balls.

On the ward, there wasn’t a lot to do: some board games, some coloring pages and colored pencils, a small number of books, and a communal tv (media must be approved by staff). You could have certain things as long as somebody from the outside brought them for you, for example snacks, your own clothes, a journal, books, and an mp3 player. Belts, bras, hoodies with strings, and shoes were not allowed. The hospital socks we were required to wear exacerbated my knee condition to a painful degree, but I was told there were no solutions. The air ducts were also incredibly loud and created constant white noise. I used hospital-issued toiletries and had to respond to a staff member knocking on the bathroom door every 15 minutes while I used the dirty shower. I was never given a change of bedding and I was told that somebody could wash my clothes for me “if absolutely necessary,” but was not allowed this courtesy.

I shared a room with another patient, separated by a curtain. This was nice, because my roommate and I could have secret conversations during mandatory room time. The ward required everything you did to either be alone or as part of the group; exclusionary conversations, sharing of personal possessions, or whispering was not allowed. There was also an extremely strict no-contact policy. If you so much as sat next to somebody else when there was another seat available that wasn’t next to anybody, you would be shouted at by the nurses, who sat around, evenly spaced around the ward, always watching and listening and policing your conversation. The only human physical contact I got was when a nurse wordlessly strapped a blood pressure cuff on me during my daily morning vitals check. In group, we were encouraged to bare our souls (minus the reasons why we were there), but outside of group, we were reprimanded for trying to get too buddy-buddy.

The explicit philosophy of this place is that it’s intentionally not supposed to be an enjoyable experience. We were told time and time again by every member of the staff, “you’re not supposed to like being here, you’re supposed to want to do everything you can to be released.” My stay included a non-denominational major holiday, and the ward did nothing at all to celebrate or acknowledge it.

There was also somebody on the ward who was very clearly neurodivergent and disabled, who was constantly dehumanized by the staff. We were told to guard our snacks lest they be stolen and devoured by that person. Sometimes they had episodes which involved yelling and hitting themselves in the head. Because of this, their hands were heavily wrapped at all times. When the episodes would happen, the staff would rush over and pin them down (causing even louder, more distressed screaming) and forcibly drag them back to their room to be in solitary confinement. The nurses said that person had been on the ward for years.

The recovery program emphasized medical treatment, and I was not allowed to leave until my drug treatment plan had been developed and I had been on their drug of choice for several days. I was not given an option in this. Initially, my care team psychiatrist told me I was depressed, but then I said I felt it was more anxiety than depression and received a shrug in return. I had mentioned trauma when I first arrived (which also included having to strip naked in front of a nurse for some reason), but later backtracked and insisted I had no major trauma, and that my problems largely stemmed from school stress, because I felt staff was not equipped to understand the nuances of what I now understand to be c-ptsd and ptsd from lifelong and singularly traumatic events, not to mention the social burden of being non-binary and queer and a person of color.

The combination of an emotionally manipulative and generally incompetent staff, an alienating social environment, and the stripping of my own agency in as many ways as possible left me with a whole range of new triggers and anxieties, and I could barely function when I was thrust into the real world again after pretending non-stop to be happy and well-adjusted and cooperated so I could escape.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: non-binary (undisclosed), queer (undisclosed), undiagnosed autistic cousin (undisclosed), PoC, moderate knee pain-related disability, involuntarily committed, weird age circumstances (I was 17 but in college)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2014

Marion General Hospital

Name of Facility: Marion General Hospital Mental Health Unit

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Marion, Ohio, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I went to this mental health unit a couple times before my last time so the nurses and PSA knew who I was. I went in because people were abusing me that day and I thought it would be a safe place for me to go into because it would be illegal for them to emotionally abuse people, but the people that work there were friends with the people that were emotionally abusing me outside of the hospital. This is a very small town so everyone knows everyone.

They used their knowledge about me to harass me and mock me about things they knew about me. My sexuality, my gender, my body, my religious beliefs, what I did as a hobbies, my social media’s, they all knew about and the PSAs would gossip about me infront of me and make fun of them. They passive aggressively accused me of being a child abuser and an animal abuser when I’ve never done anything like that in my life. I think they were just thinking anyone that’s a part of the LGBTQ+ is just a danger to animals and children. They pushed a lot of Christianity on me. I had some other patient tell me I was going to die and face God. I feel they did this because I was Bi and Trans.

The nurses forced me to take medication or they said they’d restrain me and administer it through a shot. I had one nurse hook me up to a monitor just to have him physically be aggressive with me and yank on me and pull on me and I know it was on purpose.

I have PTSD and severe trauma getting out of this hospital. The PSAs and Nurses are like teenagers that gossip about each other and people around town and abuse patients they don’t like.

You had to attend groups or they told you you couldn’t leave. Even if the groups were triggering. They forced you to take medications. Even if they made you feel sicker.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Being Trans, being Bi, being already known by people that worked there

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2018

Inova Loudoun Hospital – Cornwall Campus

Name of Facility: Inova Loudoun Hospital – Cornwall Campus

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Leesburg, VA, United States

Number of Stars: 3.5

Description of Experience: I stayed at Inova Loudoun – Cornwall voluntarily twice. First, when I was suicidal, and second, after a suicide attempt. Both times I was told (first time – by my outpatient PHP program and second time – by the attending physician at the “regular” hospital) had I not been voluntarily admitted, they would have me involuntarily admitted.

I’ve never been at another facility so it’s hard to compare, but reading some of the reviews here, it is likely one of the better facilities. There is group twice a day. They separate those needing more security from those needing less (although I was moved to the more secure side once due to them running out of rooms — those on the “secure” side for space reasons were allowed to the other side whenever they wanted, but needed to find a staff member to open the door). They have a TV, some DVDs, puzzles, coloring, board games, and books to pass the time. They encourage interaction among the patients.

If you are there involuntarily or from a hospital transfer, they provide you with scrubs to wear. Your family/friends can then provide clothes for you. They have to be checked not to have any ties/laces, etc. You cannot have your cell phone. Phones are turned off overnight and during group times. Group met twice per day. There was also a morning check-in and usually some activity (chair yoga, collages) once per day. You saw a doctor every couple days maybe — not on weekends.

The staff for the most part seemed to do their jobs well. Some were a bit jaded but there were few like that. Most did not treat you as a person (patient only), but some did. The social workers seemed to care.

My first time, I was under the impression that the hospital stay was for healing. I learned that it is not – it is for stabilization. The second time, I just treated it as something to get through, and I did quickly.

I highly believe that peer crisis centers would be better than psych wards for suicidality. Hospital stays keep us safe, but they add to the trauma as well.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2016, 2017

News Articles on LifeCare Hospital

Name of Facility: LifeCare Hospital

Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Articles

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Patient accuses Pittsburgh hospital employee of rape, sexual assault,” October 2018: “According to the criminal complaint, a former female patient of the hospital accused Adesile Solawon, 56, of repeatedly forcing her to have sex with him.”

Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Name of Facility: Haven Psychiatric Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Dayton, Ohio, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I submitted myself for a voluntary hold because I was having problems with my medications. Having only one previous hospitalization, which I consider the best decision of my life, I came here with high hopes for making a plan to get me back on track. Within a couple hours I realized what a horrible mistake I’d made.

This was not only my perception—every person there who had been previously hospitalized agreed that this was by far the worst place they’d ever been to.

The staff was awful. Some days it was 15 patients to a nurse, making it impossible for them to do their job effectively or even give us meds as needed since they were so busy. Apparently there is a real doctor on staff but my only interaction with her was one day she passed me in the hall and asked if I was feeling ok. Since she didn’t introduce herself and I’d never seen her before I assumed she was just being polite, not realizing that that was apparently my doctor visit for the day! On the other days I saw a “doctor” who turned out to be a nurse practitioner, which is fine but I don’t think it’s ok for an NP to present themselves as an MD in a hospital!

The nurse practitioner decided to put me on an antipsychotic at three times the typical dose for schizophrenia with no titration the first day I was there, despite having no history of psychosis or violence ( he himself diagnosed me with depression WITHOUT psychotic features). The dose was so high I had distorted vision and was seeing colors that weren’t there! However I also quickly saw that anyone who complained about it (EVERYONE regardless of diagnoses was on antipsychotics) was told they wouldn’t be released until they agreed to take it for three days, which left me in a position where I felt like I was being medicated against my will, with a medication that harmed me, due to the threats for not taking it.

The hospital serves three populations: adult psych patients, (non-medicated) drug detoxing, and geriatric psych. There was no division of violent and nonviolent patients, meaning that some of the people going through withdrawal and/or psychosis were literally assaulting the other patients while staff looked on. One man urinated and defecated in the halls, with the staff maybe picking it up after a few hours but never sanitizing the area. The same man crawled into several women’s beds while they were sleeping, which the staff brushed off as ‘oh he doesn’t know what he’s doing ‘.

My roommate was 102 years old and I was essentially her aide. She had severe dementia and thought I worked for her, which the staff encouraged, often bringing her to me to watch when they didn’t want to be bothers. The aides at this place seemed either irritated or disgusted with us, and would stop to chat with each other for 20+ minutes at a time after you asked for help. In the five days I was there my roommate did not have her dirty sheets changed on a single occasion that I didn’t do it. All of the elderly patients were treated similarly. Left for hours in their excrement and page buttons ignored. Apparently helping someone get out of bed and into a wheelchair is too much to ask, so elderly patients would spend most of the day staring at the walls crying. There were numerous cases of elder abuse/neglect seen every day.

There was very little to do. Exercise was usually 20 minutes of chair stretches. Art/music therapy was very good and ran by a part-time activities person who was one of the few staff who seemed to genuinely care. There were two large televisions but nurses kept the remote. The food wasn’t very good and there were very few options. Portions were small and you could not order extra food without approval (I was denied the soup I ordered because that was too much food with a turkey sandwich).

While the aides resented and ignored us, and the nurses were too overworked to help us, the social workers and doctors were practically nonexistent. My one other hospitalization involved two group therapy sessions a day, seeing the doctor every day, and making an individualized plan with my assigned social worker, this place did none of those things. We were supposed to have two groups a day led my the social workers, but in the five days I was there not a single one was held. My intake assessment with the doctor took about three minutes. I saw him come in each morning but he never spoke to me again until I was discharged. This was also the only time I spoke with the social worker. Instead of making a plan with me she just talked at me for a couple minutes then checked off boxes which said things like I have a safe home (I didn’t) or that I refused counseling (I wasn’t offered).

They were pro LGBT in the sense that they didn’t seem to think it existed, so therefor ignored it. This was certainly better than their obsession with straight sex. I got warnings for walking down the hall with a man, no touching, in plain sight. I understand this is an inappropriate place for sexual conduct, but surely that would be better addressed one-on-one as it arises, rather than the weird paternalism which was suspicious of people talking but fine when someone was actually being sexually harassed/assaulted. Most of us women were groped or grabbed and the woman next room over found a guy masturbating all over her bed, but this was ignored.

Quite frankly, this place was so traumatic that it’s come up in my therapy sessions as we work through my PTSD. I left far worse off than when I arrived.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Bi

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2018

Fairmount Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Fairmount Behavioral Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Philadelphia, PA, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Description of Experience: I was voluntarily admitted for suicidality. The schedule lists group therapy multiple times a day but we only had actual therapy 3-4 times during my 8-day stay. Half of those times, therapy revolved around the 12-step addiction recovery model, which wasn’t helpful to me and the other patients without a history of addiction. (This was because the therapists were borrowed from the dual diagnosis unit and didn’t adapt their sessions.)

Almost every day a ‘therapy’ session would be held where a psych tech would monologue for 45-75min about what he thought about life. Once I left because he was bemoaning that spanking children was no longer ‘pc’ and insisting that more spanking would improve mental health. Physically harming children is a trigger for me, but I was told by another tech that I couldn’t leave the session. On other occasions the monologue was religious Christian in nature.

They have 2-person rooms divided by gender but the unit is coed. When a male patient verbally sexually harassed me nothing was done about it. Homophobic statements were made to me and a young gay man on the unit, especially after my partner visited. The rooms were okay – you can’t close the door, which is to be expected, and the bathroom was sectioned off by a curtain that ended a few inches below my knees.

I arrived with only the clothes I was wearing, and I was given a wrap-around gown with a loop so it didn’t have ties (no laces or strings on the unit) and I never could figure out how to get it on, so I stayed in those clothes for another day until my partner could bring me more (visiting hours were 3 times a week). Underwire bras were also banned from the unit, and since I need an underwire for adequate support I was frequently in pain.

I spoke to a doctor twice, the day after the night I was admitted and the day before I was discharged. I begged to see the doctor sooner because the new medication was helping and I wanted to leave, but he was rarely on the unit. The medication change was helpful though and I’m still taking that med. The cafeteria staff were also flexible in adapting to my dietary needs.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Lesbian Jewish woman

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2017