St. Joseph’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center

Name of Hospital: St. Joseph’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center

City, State/Province, Country: Tampa, Florida, United States

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: In Florida we have the Baker Act which allows for people to be involuntarily placed in a psychiatric facility following certain circumstances. Due to self-injury I matched these circumstances and was placed into this behavioral center about 7-8 hours after initially arriving at the hospital.

They took precautions to ensure that I was not bringing in anything that could be used to harm myself or others. After the mandatory strip search I was given a schedule and placed in a very cold room with weighted tables and chairs. No one had explained the rules or what I was supposed to do. My parents brought in clothes within a few hours of my arrival. They refused to look for or give me my clothes until the end of the second day when my parents got angry discovering I was still in the same hospital gown I had arrived in. I did not receive the socks they were apparently supposed to give me upon arrival until the third day.

They gave me incorrect dosages of my medication (both anti-depressants and medications taken for health purposes). I saw the psychiatrist twice during my 72 hour stay. The first time he verified who I was and the second time he told me I was going home. One of the events that occurred in the hospital that I found terrifying was one girl broke down into a form of hysteria and was taken away. The next time I saw her she had been injected with some sort of drug and was completely unaware of what was going on around her. When we were taken to the gym the nurses would hurl softballs at us even though it was clear that it set off or upset several of us. We were told that if we hugged each other or came into physical contact with each other in any other way that we would be tackled.

I was warned by the other patients that they would try and keep me in the hospital. Indeed they did, the psychiatrist upon meeting me once determined that I was severely depressed, suicidal, etc. The first interval of staying is 72 hours. The second they could keep me for up to a month. During my visit I was given no amount of help. I was talked to once, unofficially by a nurse. There was also the separate matter of my room. This was a hospital so I was hardly expecting quality furniture. However, mattresses only an inch thick and a single pillow between my roommate and I were a bit subpar.

In summary, I received no help, had to fight and argue in order to get my clothes, was given insufficient medication, and could only watch as fellow patients’ human rights were neglected or abused. More than what I am mentioning occurred, but this is all I truly care to share.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: I am a homosexual female.

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