SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Name of Facility: SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Wentzville, MO, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Awful hospital experience. I willingly admitted myself and my time there ranged from downright terrifying to comically miserable. The staff are rude and unprofessional, most of them seeming as though they’d rather be anywhere else. The atmosphere was dirty and food stains from spills remained on the tables for days at a time.

Group therapy was required, though not particularly constructive seeing as though most everyone was there for different reasons. It was impossible to find a doctor and when you did meet with him, the encounter was short and essentially boiled down to “when am I getting out?” “I don’t know.” “ok.”

During my stay…
– I was refused HRT whilst being told repeatedly that it was the cause of my mental health issues. (When it finally WAS given to me, it was with several pages of printed-out prayers?)
– I was openly discriminated against by the staff for being trans, then threatened with sedation and removal of visitation rights after becoming angry.

I added .5 stars because the weekend staff treated me like a human, which was nice. Other than that, I left feeling worse than I did when I was admitted.

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

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

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

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

Dominion Hospital

Name of Facility: Dominion Mental Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Falls Church, Virginia, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: When I was hospitalised back in 2015, I was recovering from a suicidal attempt and was on Prozac with Abilify. When I was admitted, the staff would constantly stare and whisper to each other about patients and made unprofessional remarks. The psychiatrist who only gave me five minutes of his time, assured me that I needed to lose weight and that good Muslims don’t attempt suicide.

When I was discharging, I learned that my insurance didn’t pay for the rest of the stay because the psychiatrist wrote that I am a normal adolescent who doesn’t need psychiatric treatment. I have been diagnosed by countless medical professionals and have been on antidepressants a year prior. When I was discharged and spoke to my primary psychiatrist and told him what happened, he tried to negotiate with the insurance company saying that the psychiatrist had obviously misdiagnosed me but insurance wouldn’t have it, even though I have made many claims for my therapy sessions and have picked up my prescriptions which was paid for by them. I do NOT recommend this place.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Being a Pakistani American Muslim

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

Palmetto Health Baptist Columbia

Name of Hospital: Palmetto Health Baptist Columbia

City, State/Province, Country: Columbia, SC, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: This is my experience in the pediatric ward, I have no idea what the adult ward is like. It was a horrible experience, the only reason why I’m giving it two stars is because the recreational therapists were very nice. While I was there, they refused to call me by my preferred name, despite my begging and pleading. They are also very strict; once I was doodling on my hand because I was all out of paper, and they sent me to my room to make me wash it off, and then refused to let me go down to breakfast because of it. It wasn’t even anything bad, just a few cat faces.

I was in a room next to a seven year-old boy, and once during quiet time (where we stay in our rooms doing something quiet) I heard a nurse go into his room and scream at him for laying down on the floor. No matter how much he cried she wouldn’t stop screaming, and it got to the point where it was getting to be too loud for me.

Finally, the psychiatrist I had was HORRIBLE. When I came back the first time, she made me write a 3-paragraph essay on why I had been readmitted, and then made me write a list of 100 coping skills. Overall, a horrible experience. If I had the choice, I would NOT be going back there again.

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

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

Year(s) : Twice in 2016 (once in January, once over the summer)

Fremont Hospital

Name of Hospital: Fremont Hospital

City, State/Province, Country: Fremont, California, USA

Number of Stars: 3

Comment: While it’s very clean and safe, there’s not much therapy that goes on. I only saw my doctor for a total of less than 10 minutes, and i was there for over a week. The staff kept changing and everything was disorganized. I was in the “high-functioning” unit, which had ‘special privileges’ like having longer visiting hours. No one used my pronouns and every time any of the staff referred to me they used my deadname, even if I corrected them. My doctor didn’t listen to me at all and seemed impatient to get out of there whwnever I tried to say something, he interrupted me. There was a lot of gendered language because it was a ‘women’s unit’.

They took my toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. and didn’t give it back when I was discharged. No one could get in touch with anyone so it was all really confusing and frustrating. But, it was generally pretty chill compared to the stuff that goes on in some other places.

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

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

Year(s): 2017

St. Helena Behavioral Health Hospital

Name of Hospital: Saint Helena

City, State/Province, Country: Vallejo, CA, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: Wish I could give less. Transphobic, used my birth name after I changed it legally. They left me to panic, told me to get over it, when I complained the director or someone came in to the room to talk to my mom and I, compared having an interracial marriage to being trans.

Type of program (i.e. day program, inpatient): 5150, inpatient 3 day hold.

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Stated above, trans and very clearly singled out.