UNM Children’s Psychiatric Center

Name of Hospital: UNM Children’s Psychiatric Center

City, State/Province, Country: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Comment: As I was 17 at the time, I was admitted to UNM’s Children’s Psychiatric Center the spring of 2014. I was in a severe dissociative state when I was admitted. While I was in the waiting room waiting to start the intake, a woman (staff) who I had not seen before and would not see again during my stay rudely told me I wouldn’t be allowed my phone in the unit.

During the intake, I had a severe panic induced pseudoseizure in the hall and was essentially ripped away from my father, my only figure of support and taken into the unit, where I was stripped searched (allowed to keep bottom underwear on but nothing else) and two nurses counted every single mole and freckle on my skin before letting me put my clothes back on.

The first night I was there I had to be under 24 hour supervision, meaning I had to sleep in makeshift bed in the common area of the unit by the front desk. The rest of the nights I got my own room (to my knowledge all the rooms are one bed) but staff would walk down the halls every 10-15 minutes and shine their bright lights through the windows of the room, making sleep difficult and uncomfortable.

During the day there was little to do. At one point there was a PG movie playing on the TV in the common area- most of the other patients spent their time alone in their rooms (whose doors had to be open during the day). We were allowed to use the front desk phone to make calls (always under supervision) during a short window of time in the afternoon. As this was at the front desk, this meant that your phone conversation was being heard by not just staff but also everyone in the common area.

Staff was often rude and unsympathetic to things such as panic attacks and general questions. Every morning, everyone had to be weighed and have their blood drawn in a separate room. The nurses had written everyone’s names and weights on a white board that everyone could see in that room. We were allowed to wear our own clothes so long as they had no drawstrings or zippers, we were allowed to wear our own shoes which were kept outside the door when walking to the cafeteria/anywhere off the psych unit supervised.

There was also a short time spent each day outside in the courtyard where there was a playground and basketball court, benches, etc which I did appreciate- as all the windows in the unit were fogged over and very high up meaning you couldn’t look outside which felt very suffocating.

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

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