Thunderbird Behavioral Health (Sandia)

Name of Hospital: Thunderbird Behavioral Health (Sandia)

City, State/Province, Country: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Comment: I’ve been admitted here three times (once for 31 days, twice for just under a week) and all three times have been really wonderful. I use a name different from my legal name and the staff used my preferred name. They wrote both my legal name and preferred name on the board that had the list of patients, but it didn’t particularly bother me. On the first stay, there was a transgender woman who had only her preferred name on the board (I’m not sure if she had it changed legally) and was in a women’s room. Rooms are separated by male and female, but there’s no rules on contact outside of rooms except no sexual contact.

Staff was very friendly and tried their best to make people comfortable; there were menus to fill out every day to get the kind of food you wanted for meals, and all food was very good; peanut butter and crackers were available outside of mealtimes. Visiting hours are in the mid-afternoon and the early evening, and anyone over the age of 15 is allowed to visit. Groups are generally good, though their CBT program isn’t super well done and can feel invalidating; they encourage you to go to groups but don’t require you to.

The main problem I have with the ward is the psychiatrists; one of them is very brusque and doesn’t seem to pay attention to patients very well, and the third time I went, I was admitted under a bipolar diagnosis (I had a bipolar diagnosis as a kid but it didn’t transfer over right when I became an adult) and she changed the diagnosis and told me I likely just had “normal mood swings” for a 19yo. For the most part, though, all experiences have been very positive, and I would absolutely recommend the ward to anyone struggling.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): Inpatient

Any other identities/marginalizations i.e. race/gender/sexuality that could have influenced your stay?: Lesbian nonbinary (I didn’t disclose the nonbinary part when I was there, but do use a different name)

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