- Hi, everyone.
So today I want to talk a little bit more
about what exactly it's like to be
in a psychiatric ward or psychiatric hospital.
So I guess I just want to preface this by saying
that these are my experiences,
or this is based off of my own experiences
within psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric facilities.
And I know that it's not indicative of everyone's experience
with these places.
I know that some people find a lot of solace or comfort
in psychiatric hospitals.
This, however, has not been my experience with it,
and so I'm just gonna speak to that,
rather than speaking generally
about everyone's experiences with it.
So I guess we can start off with how you end up
in a psychiatric hospital.
So there are a few different routes
that you can take to end up there,
but the primary one is being formed
by a medical professional, a doctor or a psychiatrist
where they basically write,
I think it's called a Form 10 here in Canada,
which basically certifies you
to require to be kept in the hospital
until you've been examined by two psychiatrists
to deem whether or not it is appropriate to keep you there,
or whether or not you can be discharged safely.
The other route that you can take
is by being brought in by the police.
So if they pick you up on the streets or wherever,
because you were doing something unlawful
or you're creating a disturbance of some sort,
or someone has just called out of concern for you,
or you've made a call out of concern for yourself,
the police can bring you to the hospital as well.
Or the third route is to just check yourself in.
So you can always go to the emergency room of the hospital
and let them know that you're experiencing some concerns
about your mental health
or you're in the midst of psychosis or whatnot,
and you would like to be seen by a doctor there.
So once you've been taken to the hospital
or you've arrived at the hospital,
the process of being admitted
has been a little bit of a traumatic one for me.
So you often are kept
within a special mental health waiting room,
which is not really a waiting room,
it's more of a holding cell, basically,
where you have a bed sometimes,
or sometimes even just a chair,
and you're basically locked in a room with,
or under surveillance.
So somebody is always watching you,
and they take all of your clothes, they take your shoes,
they take your jewelry, all of your personal items,
and you're just left to sit in this room, basically,
until you're seen by a psychiatrist.
Within this room, I was also,
so I was suicidal at the time,
the last time that I was hospitalized,
and I was trying to appease the voices that I was hearing,
by any means possible,
that were telling me to take my own life
and so I was trying to strangle myself
with the hospital gown that I was wearing.
And so they saw this and immediately rushed in
with several members of their staff
and picked me up and threw me down
onto the gurney that was in the room
and strapped me down with the restraints
and injected medicine against my will.
This was a really, really traumatic experience,
and the whole thing was just generally fairly dehumanizing.
There have been times where I've been taken to the hospital
where it was a little bit less eventful than this,
where I was kept in a, I guess, holding cell,
'cause that's what it kind of felt like,
where there was windows all around and just a bed,
and I was just being observed for,
it was actually over a day that I was kept like this
before I was able to get a bed upstairs
in the psychiatric ward.
So the experience of being admitted
varies from hospital to hospital
and it's different for everyone,
but these are some of my experiences with it.
So when you're actually in a psychiatric ward or a hospital,
routine is a really big part of your day.
So all the meals are scheduled to the minute, basically.
There's also a specified bedtime
where lights are turned out,
and also a wake up time where you are essentially
forced to get out of bed in the morning.
So routine is a really big part of your day to day life
in a psychiatric ward.
It depends on what hospital you're at
in terms of what therapy is offered
or what activities are offered
or group sessions are offered.
And so that engagement level can really differ a lot
from hospital to hospital,
but it has been my experience
to not have had too much involvement
with that sort of thing,
which has been really hard
because you get really, I guess, bored and idle
sitting in the hospital with nothing really to do,
but to think, basically.
It's part of this and part of just being locked in a place
where you don't want to be, that makes it feel a lot,
or really similar to what I would imagine
jail might be like.
So you're bunking with a lot of people,
you're being told what to do and when to do it,
you are not allowed to leave.
You can be kept in isolation
if you're deemed to be acting out.
I have been put in isolation, and when I was,
I was stripped naked of all my clothes
and I was pinned to the ground
by six hospital staff, both nurses and security,
who then pinned me to the ground
and administered medicine against my will.
So it was just experiences like this
that really kind of soured my opinion
of psychiatric wards and psychiatric hospitals.
And I guess fed my opinion of always wanting to get out
as early as I could.
So even when you want to leave as early as possible,
it can be really difficult to leave,
especially when you're deemed to be
a risk to yourself or to others.
So every time I've been in the hospital,
I've contacted a patient rights advocate
who is an external person who helps patients advocate
for their rights within the hospital
and for their right to leave,
if that's something that you're wanting
to advocate for as well.
So every time, I've been put up
in front of a panel of psychiatrists
and community members and whatnot
who were meant to decide whether it was safe
to be discharged or not for me.
Every time, they shut me down (laughs).
They said, "No," every time
but sometimes it works for patients,
but very rarely does it work.
Usually, they go with what the psychiatrist is recommending
and if they want to keep you there,
then that's usually what they do.
Something that I want to touch on, though,
is the comradery, I guess, that can be forged
when you're in a psychiatric facility.
So you're spending all this time with these other patients
and so you tend to bond a little over your shared experience
and your shared difficulties.
In terms of having visitors, my friends and family,
there's usually visiting hours put in place
for when they can visit.
I believe the last hospital I was at,
it was from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the afternoon or evening.
So again, there's not really a lot to do throughout the day,
but then if you're lucky enough to have family and friends
who are willing to come and visit you,
that's kind of something to look forward to in the evenings.
Your sense of time and reality
kind of gets warped a little bit
in the hospital or in a psychiatric facility.
And things like snack time before bed
become really pivotal periods throughout your day.
So it was something to look forward to
because I was interacting with other patients
and nurses during that time, and it was just,
it was a high point of the day, unfortunately,
or something to look forward to.
I guess a criticism or point of opportunity for improvement
within psychiatric facilities
would be to just implement better programming
to teach better life skills,
or to just refresh people on different life skills.
So this can include programming on things
like taking care of yourself, exercise,
proper nutrition, basic finances,
just life coaching with a mental health focus,
just things like this
that can really help a person to better integrate
after they're released from the hospital.
So in terms of the actual discharge process,
I guess another criticism that I would have
would be that there really needs to be a lot more planning
and care given to making sure that supports are in place
for patients when they're discharged from the hospital
in order to continue care within the community.
For me, there was not a lot of discharge planning involved,
and so it was kind of like, a bit like catch and release
where I was just thrown back into the community
with no real supports put in place after my discharge.
With the one exception being my last hospital stay
where they referred me to a psychiatrist
within the community, but that was it,
and there was like a month wait.
So there wasn't really any immediate support given.
I don't have the exact statistics on hand,
but it has been shown by several studies, repeatedly,
that people are at the highest risk for suicide
immediately after they're discharged
from a psychiatric institution or psychiatric hospital.
The increased risk period is primarily
for three months after their hospitalization.
So I'm not really sure why we're not putting more effort
into supporting these individuals
who are reintegrating back into the community
in order to reduce some of these suicide rates
and some of these problems with reintegration
back into the community.
So in summary, I guess my experience
with psychiatric facilities
such as psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric wards
has been a little bit more of a negative one
and it's felt something like what I would imagine
jail might feel like.
This is a really far cry from the healing nature
that hospitals should be encompassing,
especially psychiatric hospitals,
where people are requiring specialized supports
in order to heal from their psychiatric problems.
So I hope this video helped to give some insight
into what staying in a psychiatric facility is like.
Again, I want to reiterate
that these are my own experiences with it,
and I know that it's not representative
of everybody's experiences with psychiatric facilities.
But in my own experience,
I'm now working with my therapist and my psychiatrist
to stay out of hospital as much as possible
because it just hasn't been a good, supportive environment
for me in order to heal and deal with my mental illness.
So thank you so much for watching.
If you found this video helpful,
please give me a thumbs up
and make sure to subscribe for future videos.
Thanks again, and have a great day, bye.
Thanks again for watching.
Make sure to subscribe to see future videos
and if you would like to help support
the creation of these videos,
make sure to check out my Patreon page.
The link is in the description below.