Old guy gets detained at a state hospital for the first time - is shocked at the amount of just sitting around there is

I have been on the ward plenty of times so I know exactly how state mental wards work. But I was once in when a guy with suicidal ideation due to early onset dementia came in. It was his first time on a state hospital ward.

He saw a doctor first in the ER then spoke to a consultant a few hours later. He then came into the bed bay where me and two other guys were staying. The guy was a little anxious but I quickly came to the conclusion that he was a real nice guy. I say he had dementia but this was at a very early stage and he was coherent and talkative.

Very soon he became shocked at how little therapy goes on in the ward where we were. Maybe one relaxation class a week (lead by a student nurse) and maybe one group for 30mins a week (lead by the auxiliary nurses).

You saw a doc for maybe 20mins a week and that was about your lot. The rest was sitting around or “doing your time”.

This old guy couldn’t believe how little activities there were. He was even more shocked at how little therapies (pharmaceutical or psychological) there was. The time seeing a doctor was tiny and the nurses rarely asked how you were.

In short this ward was awful to the extent that I was embarrassed at how little help was given to this guy. All the staff were jobsworths and spoke openly about patients when they weren’t in the room.

Now the area I live in has extremely high levels of deprivation, some of the worst in the country. This demographic was represented accordingly in the patients on the ward. They were poor and vulnerable. They didn’t have a voice and because most didn’t vote politicians didn’t really take much of an interest in the mentally ill populations in the area (well so it appeared to me. I may be wrong)

Care on that ward was shocking to this old guy and rightly so in my opinion. If mental health services got the money and attention that say cardiovascular medicine got things would be dramatically different. But it’s not and that disappoints me.

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Treatment for SZ, Alzheimer’s, and dementia has to improve, that’s all I gotta say. Not enough kindness to those suffering worst.


Playing devils advocate here, but that’s the way it is in most hospitals surely. You get your meds in a safe environment, when they’re sure they’re not doing you more harm than good, they release you.

Having said that, I’ve been released while being psychotic, but outwardly coherent. But that’s a different story.


Yes, I remember the last time I was in a state mental hospital - it was very boring, only saw pdoc once a week and therapy was very little. There is a therapeutic ward though in the same hospital, which I was in the previous time I was hospitalised and it had a lot of therapy groups. But the last time I was in regular wards and it was dead boring.

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Most psychwards in my experience are trashy and can’t keep up with a standard value of care. But there is one hospital I’ve been to and they had groups a few days out of the week, usually 3 or 4, and 2 tv rooms, some playing cards and coloring material. I’ve been there so many times that they got tired of seeing me and stopped accepting me, using the excuse that they were full. I know that they’ve used that as an excuse before while I was there and I over heard them on the phone.

It’s hard these days for most of us. If a person is in psychosis they should be able to be admitted to a safe secure place that involves therapy and treated but not just left there panicking because they leave…

Hospitals are not treated like hospitals when a person is ill like depressed etc it doesn’t work if their cognitive and functional I’ve been dismissed about ten times when thinking it might help to be Under observation or switched to new medication idk

It needs a lot of focus community effort and outreach so that mental health is not just for the super rich either like my mom is psychotic but not dangerous right now being threatened with jail so she will see a doctor they don’t get schizophrenia she can NOT possibly seek help she’s too sick. So instead treat her like a criminal for being ill? Sotaria houses are like $600 a day my dad can’t afford a care home he has no idea what to do.