Natchaug Hospital

Name of Hospital: Natchaug Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Mansfield, CT, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Mixed Gendered Adolescent Ward

When first arriving everyone watches you and everyone is very interested in your appearance. They do intake questions in the main area or a room to the side, they do a injury check with same gendered people. Depending on the time you arrive you either get blood drawn that day or early the next morning. Everyone has their own room, there is no sharing and the rooms are okay. Shoelaces are often taken, there is no strings allowed on clothing. Socks are to be worn at all time. No electronics or jewelry allowed. Most bating products will be kept by staff. No razors allowed. No makeup.

The bathrooms are terrible as the staff have to open them, and there is always a risk of the bathroom being opened while you’re in there so it’s not the best for people with anxiety. Also only two of the three showers work well. The handicapped bathroom’s shower doesn’t work and is freezing, nicknamed the waterfall. The middle bathroom is warmish and doesn’t have a nickname. The third shower is called the screamer, because while in use it makes a loud pitched noise, and is generally hot. (this is the shower I would use because you could tell when someone’s there and no one will try to enter, still only taking very short showers though). If you’re a person who gets a period there is tampons and pads available but they’re in a public area and it’s a bit embarrassing, though if you ask a female staff member they will get it for you and hand it to you when unlocking the bathroom.

The staff works in three shifts, morning, evening, and like after hours (after everyone is asleep and before they wake up). Some of the staff is nice but the majority doesn’t seem to care about the patients or their needs. Specialized care is rare unless rules are broken and they seem to like treating everyone like they have the same issues. For example I had to fight with staff every morning because I had permission to skip breakfast so I could take a shower while the other kids were at breakfast because my anxiety was so bad. They would never believe I had permission and I would have to go to the nurse at the desk and have them show my chart. The nurse’s were very nice and considerate, some of the few people who actually cared about the patients. The doctors that are available during the weekend are usually better than the ones that are around during the week. It takes a while for doctors to see you, social workers are generally nice. You have a doctor doctor who prescribes medication and a therapist. Therapist’s are more readily available to talk to. When there are groups usually its a therapist, staff member, or a specialized group lady.

Group is usually just to keep you busy when there isn’t school or free time. There were groups A and B, the groups don’t do many activities together but they do at some times. Groups are boring and not very helpful. There are sometimes specialized groups for people who are dealing with similar issues.

School is Monday through Friday for a few hours. The school building is not connected to the adolescent ward so everyone walks through the garden to get to the school building. There’s three classrooms, one for english/math/health, one for history/science, and one for art/gym (as of the last time I went there the guy who teaches history/science is the fun teacher). Depending on what group you’re in you’ll be in one of the main classrooms for homeroom. There is one bathroom there. At school you either work on things your school sends or you do the work the teachers assign. Sometimes they will allow you to work in the hallway instead of in the class. There is a quiet room where you can take a break if needed. Gym class isn’t fun and art is okay.

Food. There is very specific rules for the cafeteria, only two to a table, no loud conversations, you have to present all silverware before throwing out your food. Sometimes the volume gets loud and the staff will scream and make it so no one is allowed to talk. There is hot water for tea, lunch and dinner there is juice. If you can’t eat the main dish there are sandwiches or salads (it’s like a salad bar) there is also fruit and yogurt. It’s a basic school lunchroom design.

Visitation. Visits are after dinnertime and take place in the cafeteria next to the cafeteria the adolescents eat in. You can deny visits. Only parents and siblings can visit, and only people over 18. Everything has to be searched before you can have it. Sometimes parents will go on ward to talk to therapists with you, but it is not common.

Free time. During free time you can sleep, read, hang out in the common area and draw or play cards. Drawing is supervised and you cannot have actual pencils or markers in your room. Journaling is encouraged but you cannot show what you write to other patients. Sometimes there’s an option to use the music room or go off ward to watch a movie or play video games. There is a video game room with a wii and an xbox. On ward there is also a pay phone where you can call your friends or your friends can call you if that’s something you’re interested in. There is a movie night and an ice cream sunday night. On occasion therapy dogs will come in.

Since this is an adolescent ward with both girls and boys there is a lot of drama. Some people try to get into relationships or make out. This is a bad idea, friendships in the hospital are okay but don’t try to date someone from the hospital. People are often really mean to each other and there is a definite split of groups.

I didn’t feel like there was a big focus on getting better but mainly a focus on distracting us and getting us on medication. I always felt ignored by the staff. I was there through Christmas and they do try to be inclusive of all religions. Also are good with lgbt+

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: pansexual

Year(s) : 2012, 2014

One thought on “Natchaug Hospital

  1. Unfortunately in this hospital the focus is mainly on behavioral issues the ones who yell the loudest get the most attention regardless if it is positive or negative attention. This hospital is not there to fix a persons problems. It is a hub for people to become stable enough to go to their regular psychiatrist outside of the hospital to help them fix their own problems. The rules in place seem off the wall to people who have to abide by them, however I have worked there for over 7yrs. Not because the pay is amazing but because the job is rewarding working with adolescents who want to improve. However most adolescents just want people to fix it for them and its impossible for anyone to fix someone else’s problems. We can support people but we can’t fix them we provide ideas for coping and distract from harmful coping mechanisms but all they want to do is glorify the harmful coping mechanisms such as drugs, alcohol, and inappropriate sexual behavior. The worst is the inconsistency that is confusing to the clients. Not all the staff are on the same page with how the program is run and divert from the rules causing confusion in some cases however lets face it. Adolescents will do what they can get away with if you allow them to split the program they will. For example: I didn’t get the answer I wanted from the Nurse so I will ask multiple Mental health workers until I get the answer I wan’t.
    Why can’t I stay in bed during groups I am depressed and the groups do not help. If you had to get out of bed to walk to group our Motto is Move a muscle, Change a thought. I agree the groups are repetitive and boring but always open to new ideas participating in your own recovery is how we improve our programing. This information is subject to perspective if you stay in the hospital you will view it differently than working in the hospital. One thing we agree on it there is always room for improvement.


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