OHSU Psych Ward

Name of Hospital: OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) Psych Ward

City, State/Province, Country: Portland, Oregon, USA

Number of Stars: 3.5

Comment: I was placed here after a failed suicide attempt and was there for only 2 weeks. This, however, was more then enough time to gauge what it was going to be like if I was there longer.

It felt rather cramped with people. Outside of a few of single bedroom “observation” rooms, there was two people to a room with about 6-8 rooms and (I believe) two of the fore-mentioned “observation” rooms. The entire place was lit with fluorescent light and with few windows, there was very little natural light (something I am quite sensitive to). To top it off, there was a dearth of things to do. When I am emotionally off-kilter, I need something solitary to occupy my mind with. They had nothing but a single TV, a game of Uno (and a few other Milton-Bradly BS games), and a few jigsaw puzzles (from what I remember). There was also a “group therapy” session thing every day that was non-mandatory. I went to one and felt that it was a farce.

On the bright side, they let my parents bring some things including a few books, a stuffed animal, my phone, and my iPod touch (which actually helped a lot). I also had several visitors, including one I was not expecting. The food is also pretty good there. But please bare in mind, I was sent to a “low-threat” ward. Apparently they had a “high-threat” ward which would probably be a completely different environment.

I only met with a counselor once and all that was discussed was warning signs and a quick list of coping strategies was made in case of severe emotional deterioration.

After 2 weeks, they said that I was now in on a voluntary basis but I left that day because I was transferred out of the “observation” rooms and into a double bedroom. I am never super comfortable around strangers (though it doesn’t show) and the only real time that I can recharge is when I am alone. I probably should of fought the decision but it was confusing time for myself and I’ve never been much of a self-advocate. I also really should of stuck around a little while longer to sort myself out a little further but I knew that that wasn’t going to happen if I am forced into contact with others. As I left I wasn’t given any support, outpatient plan, nothing. Not even a list of potential psychiatrists or psychologists.

Looking back on it, I felt that I could have been left to rot in there. The nurses, while nice and kind, were not especially helpful outside of daily living (basically food and idle chit-chat). I never met the doctor whom I was “under the care of,” the counselor whom I met was a student doctor (though I don’t think he was bad, actually, just inexperienced). All-in-all, the only real reason why I got better there was out of self direction. If I had health insurance, things may of progressed differently but I didn’t at the time…

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: High-functioning Autism (undiagnosed at the time), Lacked health insurance

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