Psych Ward Reviews Is Going On Hiatus

As you may have noticed, the projects and postings have slowed down as of late. I apologize for this. There have been some obstacles in my personal life to managing the site. As a result, I am placing Psych Ward Reviews on a hiatus. I expect to end the hiatus sometime in December 2017.

The hiatus means all policy projects, news article gathering, and social media updates will pause. You can still submit reviews, but they will not be posted until the hiatus ends. If you are a Patreon supporter, it would probably be best to at least temporarily end your contributions. I feel it unethical to continue to receive them during this time.

Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to seeing you on the other side.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

Name of Facility: Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Marysville, WA, USA

Number of Stars: 4.5

Description of Experience: So I thought I’d do a review for Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital(SPBH) as its brand new and there are no reviews available. I have been to Fairfax Kirkland, Overlake Hospital, and Skagit Hospital in the psych wards of each hospital. Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital by far has the best psych ward. I ended up at Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital within 2 weeks after it opened.

I had serious reservations about going somewhere brand new as there was no information out there for if Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital was a good psych ward or not. I came in for hearing voices unsure if it was just OCD or if it was psychosis. I came in under a referral from my psychiatrist so I had to do a assessment that lasted about 2 hours. After doing the assessment I had to wait in this room for about 30 minutes while they discussed what would be the best treatment option for me. After waiting 30 minutes they confirmed that I would be admitted to the psych ward. After that I went up stairs to the psych ward.

SPBH will eventually have 6 psych ward units but at the time when I was admitted only one was open. I’m unsure if more have opened by now but as of August 16, 2017 only one unit was open. Once I got up stairs I saw the unit it was a typical psych ward unit I believe the unit is called 2 East. The unit was nicer than Overlake and Skagit (which Skagit looked like a prison) but not as nice as the new part of Fairfax (West 2) but nicer than the old part of Fairfax (Central, North, South, East).

The unit has a milieu and a group room as well as bed rooms. Once you get on the unit they do a strip search to make sure you have no weapons or anything else to hide which is really uncomfortable but all psych ward do it and then a nurse does her own assessment. Once that is all done they show you to your room the rooms are typical psych ward rooms with an uncomfortable bed but that is to be expected in a psych ward. In my opinion what makes or breaks a psych ward is the staff and I have to say the staff at SPBH are exceptionally awesome. Shout out to some of the staff includes the Mental Health Techs, as well as the nurses, the therapist, and the discharge planner.

SPBH is big on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I personally prefer Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and they do occasionally have a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy group. Recreational Therapy in my opinion was hit or miss. Some of the activities were fun such as volley ball, making food and art but most of the time the groups were reading about activities and honestly the group was very boring. After talking to other patients the general consensus was nobody really loved Recreational Therapy. The doctors  were both really exceptional. One was honestly better than my psychiatrist at home. I connected with the other as well as he used to work at the Eating Recovery Center and I’m recovering from an eating disorder so it was nice to have someone who understood eating disorders working at SPBH.

The food for the most part was really good at SPBH though some cooks were better than others. My biggest concern for Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital would be as the hospital begins to open more units the quality of the hospital would begin to go down. Right now the hospital full and undivided attention is on 2 East as that’s the only unit open but that won’t last forever.

My general consensus of Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital is that it is the best behavioral hospital around and I would recommend it to anyone who is in need of care that only a psych hospital can offer.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): June 2017-August 2017

Northwell Syosset

Name of Facility: Northwell Syosset

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Syosset, New York, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Description of Experience: I was twice denied a Koran & access to Imam priest. Misdiagnosed as bipolar for being bisexual from close minded family that does not accept me. Am well educated. I never tried to commit suicide. Screamed political complaints at home, annoying conservative cops who put me away for a few weeks to censor protests.

Psych ward is small 20 people & cold but clean with nice aides. No fresh air, dangerous electro-shock, padded quiet room, indoor bicycle, 2 TV in common room with Xbox & DVD player, old books, art room with 2 computers (if you attend group), good food including snack at night.

Besides discrimination & greed, I am concerned that during 2 of my imprisonments they had a possible undercover Muslim guy who was from another city, admitted having a gun which I never. Said he used PCP & tried to get me to do illegal deals. Sounds like entrapment in what should be a medical place.

Wish the hospital would hire a full time talk therapist & spend more than a few minutes with each patient.

Other people complained about Tardive Dyskenesia & diabetes from being over-medicated. I gained 100 pounds from side effects.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Bisexual, Muslim, High Functioning Autism

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2005, 2016

Harrington Co-Occurring Disorders Unit

Name of Facility: Harrington Co-Occurring Disorders Unit

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Webster, MA, USA

Number of Stars: 5

Description of Experience: The facility was the cleanest place I’d ever been in but didn’t feel sterile. The nurses and MHAs, with one exception, were perfect about respecting my gender, with one going above and beyond to help me. I actually learned helpful things in OT/group and the psychiatrist there really cared. I felt very safe and I was able to open up about some of my trauma for the first time. I’m glad that I went there.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): inpatient (self check-in, later sectioned)

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: nonverbal, Autistic, trans woman, PTSD, schizoaffective

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): April 2017

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Name of Facility: Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Chicago, IL, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Description of Experience: In March of this year (2017) I voluntarily admitted myself into the inpatient psychiatric program (More so my ex-boyfriend [who I was still living with] and my family (mostly) my mom coerced me into doing so. I had had a manic episode, had not slept in at least 72 hours (plus I had huge bouts of depression for at least a month before that).

I checked into the ER, saw multiple nurses and doctors, then a psychiatrist, and finally was told they thought it best I was admitted. I then waited forever! From the time I got to the hospital, to the time I actually got into the psych ward was 12 hours- I don’t know how I made it.

When I got there, I hadn’t slept in over 80 hours and was completely delirious. I was forced to strip naked and have every nook and cranny of my body inspected. Then every single one of my belongings was taken away from me (apart from my underwear, bra, socks, leggings, and shirt) My boots had laces, so I couldn’t keep them and my hoodie had a drawstring. This one very rude man took away EVERYTHING else, including all my makeup and even my chap stick. I told him I had very dry lips and I needed it but he refused to give it to me. They took away my birth control and refused to let me have any (for 2 full nights) until a doctor THERE prescribed it… which gave me extreme anxiety (oh yeah, but they forbid xanax there, so I couldn’t even take anything to help me out with that).

It’s the middle of the night, so I sleep thru the morning sessions and wake up for lunch. The food there actually wasnt terrible (not great, but definitely better than anticipated). I then attended a group therapy session (where I made my first friend (over my uncontrollable laughter about a pun he made)). So I became friends with him and this other dude (I was told “hey you’re the second normalish-person I’ve met yet, hang out with us!”). So that was cool until the nurses gave me some drug I’ve never taken before (without explaining anything to me) and suddenly was unable to form a coherent sentence or think clearly, so I staggered to my room and went to bed.

Next day: everyone is supposed to receive a folder with an itinerary, articles, worksheets, and you are supposed to be assigned to a certain group. Guess what?! Nobody told me anything about who my regular nurse would be, who my social worker was, or what group I was in. The staff was SO unhelpful- those front desk employees won’t even look at you if you have a question. They treat you like you are an animal and have no respect for you whatsoever, SO I just went to whatever meetings the friends I had made attended.

I had my own room, which was super nice.. and it was really big and a good escape between sessions just to rest or contemplate. The beds were very uncomfortable though.

My social worker was very nice (but it took me 4 days to see her and then I only saw her the second time when I was leaving).

I had maybe 6 nurses while I was there because my primary nurse was on vacation so they kept alternating them. Ya know, It would be great if the hospital would assign you a nurse that was actually there, instead of one that would be there 5 days after your admission.. just sayin.

I also had 3 psychiatrists: my primary, the weekend coverage, and a sub when my primary was out sick. I think that’s way too many psychiatrists for 1 week. Hospital policy is that Xanax is not tolerated, but I had been taking 3mg daily for 2 years. After 2 days I experienced severe withdrawals, but no one would listen to me. I was sweating, then freezing, couldn’t hold a cup of water due to the shakes, could not think straight, was laughing deliriously, had severe insomnia, started hallucinating- thinking the plants from the painting in my bedroom were coming out as demons trying to eat me alive. It wasn’t til a weekend day when I couldn’t take it anymore, I approached a man in a white coat and asked him if he was a psychiatrist. He said “yes, but what’s your name? … I’m not yours but Dr. so-&so will be seeing you later today”. I told him anyways what was going on and he pulled thru, told the other doctor, and she immediately put me on some Klonopin. Thank god, because I literally thought I was dying. It was so irresponsible to cut me off of benzos cold turkey in the first place, but at least I eventually got helped.

The substitute psych was a real “pleasure.” I was told I could go home in 5 days (pending approval from your doctor) and it had been 5 days, so I asked her about it. I had been waiting all weekend and was excited to see my assigned doc on Mon, but when I saw it wasnt her, I started crying a bit. She got pissed off with me and told me “even doctors get sick you know.” and then prescribed me Zoloft (which I have taken before with HORRIBLE results… she clearly didn’t read my charts). After I talked with my nurse, this doctor prescribed me another SSRI that i had already tried with HORRIBLE results. I refused, and my nurse was very understanding and didn’t make me take it.

Oh god, I feel like I have a million more things to say but I’ve already written so much. I CAN say that I met some amazing people there, and formed bonds that I will forever remember.

There was some AWESOME staff, and there was some TERRIBLE staff, but the other patients there made it bearable for me. I HATED not having my cell phone, but after a few days it didn’t bother me too much and I actually liked where I was. I definitely feel some nostalgia.

The facility itself is beautiful (it’s like a really manicured prison.. likely much prettier than your average psych ward.. including a pretty nice gym and lots of yoga mats too). They also have a machine for coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated), but they’re lying because they’re both decaf.

I hate that I was here, and I hated so much of my time here, but by the end- I felt pretty content and came out a better person. I saw my regular psychiatrist a few hours after my discharge, and he told me this was the best/ most optimistic he had ever seen me ( so I guess something something worked!)

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient (7 days)

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+:

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2017

Gateway Regional Medical Center

Name of Facility: Gateway Regional Medical Center

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Granite City, Illinois, USA

Number of Stars: 4

Description of Experience: I was admitted on July 5th, 2017, for suicidal thoughts and self-harm. I had to spend hours upon hours upon hours in the emergency room before they brought me up to my bedroom (there was a special set of rooms for incoming psych patients). Everything was very confusing for my first day, but adapting was very easy. Literally almost all of my stay consisted of being stuck in one room with the other patients (we were not allowed to leave “the dayroom” except for at bedtime).

Legitimately all we had to do was play cards and talk. Since all anyone played was gin rummy (something I don’t know the rules to), I was stuck just spectating unless I could find someone to play Uno with. Boys and girls were separated–we weren’t allowed to sit at the same tables without a staff member present, and had to stay at arm’s length when about the room.

We had “Group” a couple times a day, and that was pretty much all we got treatment-wise besides medicine and “daily” unproductive meetings with therapists (they didn’t come in on weekends or certain weekdays). “Group” was not beneficial at all; the worst example of which I experienced was when one staff member spent an entire meeting either educating us on bestiality or bragging to us (a bunch of abused children) about how she horribly beat her kids. I don’t feel like I have to explain why that was out of line.

However, I would like to add that the food was actually pretty decent, and as a vegetarian I got my needs accommodated well (actually, I recommend to anyone who stays at Gateway to request vegetarian options–you can have grilled cheese for every meal of the day while everyone else has things like tuna salad sandwiches). All the requirements to be released were is to have two positive family sessions, which is where they sit you down with your family and have you talk for a bit. Not very hard really.

However, any kids who ended up there as wards of the state, foster kids, etc, could be kept for much longer. One kid had been in there for exactly 80 days as of the day I left because the government just didn’t seem to know what to do with him. The staff ranged from pretty great to terrible, although most fell in the unremarkable category. Only one person would really qualify as pretty great, and only one other would qualify as terrible (the aforementioned woman who bragged about child abuse). Sleeping was nearly impossible; the bedrooms were incredibly hot and stuffy and you had to keep your door open at all times so that bright light from the hallway spilled in.

Basically overall, I don’t feel like I gained anything from the experience except the added motivation to stop self-harming that was basically “I don’t want to end up in that ward again.” I don’t feel like my stay was productive at all besides that and the fact that I was finally diagnosed and began medication (I had kept quiet about mental health issues until the event that got me admitted). All in all, I don’t think anyone will get anything out of staying, but nothing was outright terrible except for how slowly time passed the first day I was there and how horridly my anxiety was acting up. Everything was just basically decent, with no real outliers besides the one terrible staff member.

Here’s the part where I talk specifically about my experience as a trans man, or just a LGBT+ person in general. Firstly, I was asked my sexuality by every single staff member in charge of treatment. Every therapist I met with, the pediatrician, the woman who showed me into my room, always asked me pretty early on, “Are you into guys, girls, or both?” Some tacked on an option of “neither.” This seemed to be standard procedure, but could have just been because I was trans. I was obviously offended by this, and nearly said something, but bit my tongue because you had to behave if you wanted to go home.

I was put in a bedroom by myself–everyone was given either a room by themself or a with a roommate (each was equipped with two beds), and I wasn’t allowed a roommate, which wasn’t a bad thing at all. Half the people in there weren’t allowed roommates either, (for anger issues or other reasons) so it wasn’t really seen as peculiar by the other kids. I was deadnamed only around less than 30% of the time by staff (I haven’t legally changed my name), which deeply bothered me but I could handle. I also was called “ma’am” a few times, which really bugged me.

I experienced no blatant transphobia or homophobia from the staff, and was treated as a man by therapists. I was also treated as a boy in the dayroom–I was supposed to sit with the guys and avoid the girls. I had been asked at the beginning of my stay what I preferred (they said the last trans guy they had asked to be put with the girls), and my decision was met with no objection. I wasn’t outed to any of the other patients, and was allowed to remain stealth (have people think I was a cis man). So, overall, no real complaints in how I was treated as a trans person aside from some deadnaming and misgendering. Treatment was much better than what I expected in that regard.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): Inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: I am FTM transgender (I identify as male but was assigned female at birth), pansexual, and a minor

Salt Lake Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Salt Lake Behavioral Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Description of Experience: I don’t actually expect hospitals to make me better, but I do expect that they don’t make me worse. This hospital hires undereducated techs. The groups are a joke. The worst thing got me is that I was suffering from extreme anxiety and they refused to let me go anywhere but the noisy, crowded day room. When I left my anxiety was worse than it had ever been in my life. A doctor tried to commit me to the state hospital and I was lucky to avoid it. This hospital focuses on nothing but profit.

Type of Program (inpatient, outpatient, residential, etc.): inpatient

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: I was homeless