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what are mental institutions like?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by noplacetogo, Sep 12, 2008.

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  1. noplacetogo

    noplacetogo Well-Known Member

    Are real mental institutions similiar to those portrayed in the movies?? I've never been committed to a mental institution and never visited one, and I'm wondering if it's anything like the way it is in the movies, Cuckoo's nest, Girl Interrupted...umm K-pax:p
    For those of you who've been there, what is it really like?? Do they trap you in a room if you're unstable? Do they let you have outdoor time? Do they force feed you meds?:(
  2. Entoloma43

    Entoloma43 Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what qualifies as a mental institution, but in my state, if you attempt suicide and below 18, by law you have to go to some facility for atleast 5 days against your will.

    So, this is just my personal experience:

    I believe they give you some shot to calm down you down or pass out.

    The one I was at, they did not allow it for me or anyone else there who were under 18.

    Everyone took their meds (or pretended to), so I'm not sure what would happen if you refuse. However, to give any meds they required parental consent.
  3. Hazel

    Hazel SF & Antiquitie's Friend Staff Alumni

    I was in a psychiatric hospital for 3 months, the only resemblance to the movies I found was the fact that you had to queue up for your medicines which at the time made me think of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    Most patients were in 4 bedded cubicles, just like in a general hospital.
    You are in a single room with a nurse nearby if you are thought to be danger to yourself or others.
    The majority of patients were allowed outside so long as you let a staff member know you were going.
    Force feeding of meds would be against human rights but if it was a matter of life or death then they would be given by injection.
    Hope this helps....
  4. Arcturus

    Arcturus Active Member

    The particular mental hospital I went to was actually quite a nice place. This might not be true for every mental hospital; I'm honestly not sure.

    One thing that seems to be universal is that the chefs are not allowed to cook decent meals.

    No, but seriously, if you need to be institutionalized, don't let the stigma of mental hospitals hold you back. They are very helpful places, where I, at least, found some of the first people I could relate to IRL. Just remember that some people who are institutionalized have very serious issues (ie: I met a girl at my hospital who was completely unaware of everything that happened to her about half the time; she literally walked into the hall naked one day, without any idea of her surroundings), and be sensitive to those people.

    Take care.

    <Edit: If you refuse to take your meds, they will first make you talk to the doctor and explain why. I believe if you continue to be unreasonable, they can make you take meds only if they see it as dangerous for you to not take them. We got to take walks as a group, as long as we were supervised by one of the nurses. I only saw one kid who they had to physically restrain; he had a habit of going out of control (anger related problems) and attacking people with anything he could find. He was only like 12 years old, and they will always try to control you non-physically first, but after he hit a nurse in the head with one of the chairs, they had to bring him to a room and keep him there until he could control himself again. If you have literally ANY control over your behavior, you do not need to worry about being "trapped in a room.">
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2008
  5. Victori@

    Victori@ Well-Known Member

    My experience with the mental hospital…

    I went there by my own choice. I was there for 8 days. If you are at risk of hurting yourself, you will not be allowed outside. You can go only go outside if the doctor ok’s it. I could only go outside at 1:00 in the afternoon and 6:00 in the evening for a half hour. I could go outside with my family, but the visiting hours were 4:30pm to 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 2:00pm-8pm sat and Sunday.

    I was woken up at 8am for breakfast where everyone goes down a hallway for their meals. Lunch was at 12 and dinner was at 5. If you didn’t get up and down to the dinning room, you didn’t eat.

    There were three different sections of the mental care unit. People with schizophrenia and dementia are all in one area, people with anger management and violent behavior were in another area and people with general mood disorders were in another area...

    I had to speak with a psychologist everyday and go to the group meeting everyday. I am so glad to be home.

    Im sure it’s great for some people but I don’t think that’s what I needed! It just didn’t’ feel right!
  6. Broken Wings

    Broken Wings Well-Known Member

    I've been to the children's ward three times now, and can say my hospital is nothing like the Cuckoo's Nest.

    Much as Victori@ said, except people in the children's ward here were never allowed out on their own, and could only go out with a parent if they had suffient behaviour to warrant a pass.

    I was never forced meds, I did refuse once, and they try to persuade you to take them, until you can talk to the doctor. If persuation dosen't work they threaten to take away passes. Some of the younger kids who refused repeatedly could be sent to their room until the doctor showed up to talk to them.

    The Quiet Room is a bunker-like room they put manics or risks in, and could lock from the outside, no handle on the inside, with a window from the nurses office in the wall so they could watch you.

    We had several groups every day, ranging from emotion control and drug-prevention, to music and leadership.

    You also occasionally got to talk to the head psych, you could talk to the nurses whenever, and if you really didn't want to be alone (or really did!) they had options for that.

    Everyone keeps a general eye on you so that you don't do anything harmful, but other wise you're given a fair amount of leeway.

    Hope that helps.
  7. shazzer

    shazzer Well-Known Member

    I've been in a psychiatric hospital a number of times and the one I was in was nothing like you see in films (I've seen one flew over a cuckoo's nest love that film) As far as leaving the ward I wasn't allowed out on my when I was first admitted on my own for the first few weeks mainly because I was so suicidal and I would have attempted had I been allowed out. I was sometimes allowed out with a member of staff or two to walk in the grounds or go to the local shop. Even when I had visitors and we wanted to go out we had to go with staff. Once I was feeling less suicidal I was able to go out on my own to go in the grounds of the hospital jus for 5 mins to start with and it was built up until I was allowed out for a few hours and then allowed home leave. Although that could be stopped or I would have to be accompanied by staff if they felt at that time I wasn't safe to be on my own. I used to see my consultant at least once a week when it was ward round and at other times if it was felt you needed to. I also did some Occupational therapy which gets you off the ward for a while if nothing else sometimes ward staff would have to stay depending on how I was.
    They also do observations on you If you were at risk of harming yurself you would be on level one which meant you would have a nurse with you all the time, or you maybe checked on every 10mins or half an hour. The consultant would decide on what level you were on and could be changed at anytime.
    I was so shit scared when I was been admitted the first time as you hear so many horror stories from people about how bad it was. I tried to go with a open mind I'm not saying that I enjoyed the experience but I know it kept me alive at times when I would have been dead it wasn't at all as bad as I'd expected it to be
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