My experience at a state hospital

…as a nursing student not a patient! Seeing the people there…wow…these are people who are very, very ill. The sickest of the sick. Mostly schizophrenics. Many with a history of trauma, very broken people. They look like absolute zombies. Very unkempt and just shuffling around with blank looks on their faces. The hospital itself is like a prison. Highly depressing and in my opinion not a very therapeutic environment. The dayroom was this giant room with some couches and tables and a nurse’s station and nothing else.

It was just sad for me to see. Most of the people in there apparently had been there a long time and were basically going to be there for their whole lives. To me they had little chance of recovery.

The children’s ward was better decorated at least and more cheerful looking. In my opinion it did not really have mentally ill children but rather highly traumatized children from very broken families that could not care for them and they just had nowhere else to go. They seemed like such sweet typical children but they had issues with mood regulation and impulse control thus were prone to violent and explosive outbursts whenever mildly upset or distressed. Many of them also had learning disabilities due to mother’s drug use while they were in utero. I was on the children’s ward for my first day. It made me so sad that I cried during my report at the end of the day. Even though those kids parents sucked they were still so sad when they wouldn’t visit them. And there was really no therapeutic activities for the kids. They went to school during the day and occasionally met with a therapist and a doctor. I was told by the nurse that many of the kids end up in the hospital system their whole life as well.

I don’t think I could work in an environment like that. Even though those places are understaffed and desperately need people. It is too depressing. And dangerous too, there are many, many violent individuals there, even outside of the criminal ward. Even the children I’ve heard can do some pretty bad damage when it comes to biting and whatnot.

Next time I’m either going to be on the adult or criminal ward. I’ll let you know any more stories!


Very intetesting post.

I was one of those zombie patients and recovered if that makes you feel better. Places like that have people at their worst and when they get a bit better they move on probably. Only to be replaced by more ill patients.

So it probably looks worse than it is.


What do you think contributed to your recovery?

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Initally it was just allowing my brain to reboot in a safe environment combined with meds. I also saw another zombie patient when I was there. Then one day she smiled at me and started talking to me like nothing had ever been wrong ,which shocked me.

So some patients at least might just be in the middle of a reboot.

My psychiatrist at the hospital claimed I turned the corner after an injection of some older AP (I was on oral abilify all the time too).

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I guess that was what my PHP experience was like. For me I needed routine. I had too much unstructured time and my brain basically was devouring itself. Having something that kept me busy all day got me out of my own head and I was started on new meds there that helped keep me stable once I left.


Yeah you might be too sensitive to the nature of those people’s experience to be fit for the environment.

Doesn’t mean you can’t do good for them. With the education you were pursuing and your own experience you will likely find that “keyhole thing to do” to improve the perception and care of mentally ill individuals.

I mean… progressivism is complicated because it’s so multifaceted… support gets spread thin and it’s all highly centered around specific issues and specific demographics… and a whole lot of folk are still relatively well to do in the face of what a mentally ill individual experiences.

It’s likely mentally ill individual’s are last on the list. Aside from the backbone of research professionals who have devoted their lives to progressing the understanding of mental illness.

I know that there are political movements vying to get more support for the mentally ill… but I’ve also seen how easy it is to overlook them. Most other peer groups get pretty aggressive when it comes to making their claims. Like these anti-abortion/pro-abortion rallies…


Wow. That’s so horrible.

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I have not seen you around for a while Azley.
Good to see you.:slightly_smiling_face:

Interesting to read about your experience Anna.
Your doing so well to be studying as you are.



I agree with @everhopeful. You don’t know for sure if they are hospitalized for their entire lives. I know a handful of folks, and people here, who have been in the state hospital and recovered.

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I forget how sick some people can get with mental illness. The ones you don’t get to meet that have been through way too much bs in life.

Mental healthcare is broken: The psych ward is designed like a prison, patients are overmedicated, and nobody seems to care.

I started to get better when a nurse talked to me like a human being. He invited me to hear him play guitar and sing. Finally, I felt like someone cared and respected me.

It’s amazing how many people get better if only one person believes in them.


I feel so bad especially for the kids I feel it’d be hard to work in an environment like that. Hospitals really need to be improved imho. Cause its not a very therapeutic environment. It’s hard to get better if you feel like youre in prison.

Its sucks that they dont treat mentally ill as people


In my experience, people look weird in hospitals and psyche wards. But once they’re out and back in society, you could walk past them and they look perfectly normal. I’ve seen this many times.

Good to see you around too and some others I’ve not seen around for a while.

Hope you guyzzz are well.:slightly_smiling_face:

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I was just going off what the nurses told me. Plenty of people had been there forever and some people were literally sentenced there for life by the courts.

I’d like to think at least some of them will eventually get out of there though.

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I’d like to think that, too. :slight_smile:

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Update, I was on the ward today and it was explained to me that it was a long term stay ward. So it is literally the ward for people who have been there forever and will probably (or are literally sentenced to) never leave. Sigh :disappointed:


Can they be “sentenced” to a ward that is not a “criminal ward”?

The tech told me there used to just be one criminal ward, but then there were just way too many criminals so now they’re in pretty much every ward.

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That’s terrifying and awful!!!

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