Name of Hospital: Claxton-Hepburn Mental Health Clinic
City, State/Province, Country: Ogdensburg, NY, USA
Number of Stars: 3.5
Comment: I have really bad depression so in my first semester of college I was in over my head and had a plan to commit suicide, so I was forced to come here for 9 days. Coincidentially, I was here with three other students, all whom left earlier than me somehow. You are trapped here, especially if you’re here for suicidal intent. The psychiatrists are extremely rude and belittle you for even considering suicide, while reminding you you will be here extra long because you are a high risk patient. If you start to cry or stumble in their office, they make you stay longer. If you start to cry in the day room, they write it down and you have to stay longer.
Otherwise, amazing food. You dorm with one other person and have a connected bathroom, no doors can be locked. One time a girl in the room beside my room kept coming into our room at 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM etc and trying to talk to us …? Night staff did not care. Day staff and night staff are not equipped to talk to you about your feelings. If you are visibly upset and want to talk, they will medicate you, and you cannot refuse. They won’t talk. There’s no one to talk to here.
The day room is pretty big: there is a tiny cafeteria area that sits 30 people, then a small television area in the middle, and a large meeting table at the end that has another television in the corner. I like to sit at the meeting table: you can’t see the whole day room, it makes me feel less claustrophobic. At night, you can come back after an hour to watch television until midnight. The younger patients love to do this one, but I like sleeping. You can go for a nap from 2:30 to 4:30. There are three side rooms: one is darkened so you can nap, with 3 pull-out beds, and one that is soundproofed so you can listen to music and chat and laugh. The last is the activity room, the only room where we are allowed to have crayons. It’s only open 3 hours a day though.
Every 15 minutes, a nurse checks on you and writes down what room you are in and what you are doing. They do this at night too: if you’re awake or asleep, and if you’re consistently awake, you’ll be forced to take sleeping medication. It’s usually trazodone, but may be atarax. They also keep track of when you make bowel movements… by asking you once a day. And your blood pressure. And if needed, daily blood samples too.
We weren’t allowed crayons or pens or pencils: we were allowed magazines though, and puzzles. That’s all we had. No outside food: but you can order little cups of ice creams and doritoes and fruit juice off the hospital menus. Getting my friends to bring my comfiest pajamas was fine, the staff just had to wash it first. I have a security blanket for when I sleep, and I was allowed to have that.
Their detergent smells awesome. The days started passing fast and I found entertainment in the friends I made there, and once you learn the staff’s names, they become personable and talkative with the younger patients. The loosely-coordinated group therapies were kind of fun, and we did all these self-empowering worksheets. The days started passing fast once I was in the swing of things. All in all, I’m glad I went, and I learned things.
But if you don’t think you’re up to being belittled for 5 minutes at the same time every single day, and then being told what medication you HAVE to take, do not come. Also… the huge windows making up one end of the day room is covered in dead spiders. Don’t go near it. It’s terrifying.
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 18