Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital

Name of Hospital: Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital (the children’s ward specifically -emergency ward, meant for children up to 18 years old who are at a high risk of suicide)

City, State/Province, Country: Miami, FL, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: It was an incredible small space because the patients are meant to be there for a limited time (just a few days) but legally they could keep you as long as they see fit. There’s a main desk in front of the door, a “living room” which has several sofa chairs (pink for girls, blue for boys) where the kids sit for most of the day to watch TV, some tables where they eat, and the dorms.The dorms aren’t half bad. The only problem is that the shower water is ridiculously cold. You never get any sunlight or fresh air, which is scary since these are kids being trapped in for weeks.

During my weekend there we never had any sort of programs (we pretty much just watched Disney from 9am to 9pm which is Hell), you basically needed to pretend to be okay until they believed you. If you cry or go against the nurses’ orders, even if it’s just getting up to use the bathroom, you might get an extra day. A very small child (around 5 yrs old) was about to go home but the night before he started to cry so he couldn’t leave. They were very nonchalant when talking about the conditions in the adult ward (jokingly told us that if we were older than 18 we’d be drugged and sedated but legally they couldn’t do that to us).

Personally I wasn’t even supposed to be there but I had to stay so they could avoid a possible lawsuit (but we got a 5k bill). I’m pretty shy but I realized I had to fake a smile and talk to the nurses all the time so they’d think I’ve “recovered”. I’m a hijabi Muslim so they let me wear a scarf and pray fajr and isha but the nurses didn’t really let my make the other three prayers since I needed their explicit permission to go to my room. I’ve never been to a psych ward before so I don’t know how this compares to others but sometimes I think about my few days there and freeze up. Even weeks after I couldn’t use a certain type of faucet without getting flashbacks to my room.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: I’m a white Latinx and Muslim. I’m also a nb lesbian but no one knew that so that didn’t affect my stay. I’m not professionally diagnosed so they only knew about my history of suicide attempts and self-harm (not my ptsd and possibly bpd)

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