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

Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital

Name of Facility: Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Hartford, Connecticut, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: Admitted involuntarily through the emergency room, and against my stated wishes on my advance directive not to be sent to this particular hospital, i was secluded for almost all of the three and a half weeks i was kept there. Although they told ke the room was not “seclusion” only a “quiet room” when i left it and walked down the hallway alone, looked out a window and went back to the room, i was instructed to lie on the bed for restraints, because “you do not follow directions”. Two female nurses restrained me, and injected me in the buttocks with 2 drugs to put me to sleep, and despite my sleeping, they kept me in 4-point restraints for 19 hours. Each time i woke, i asked to be released, but they refused, only injected me again and put me back to sleep. This happened on multiple occasions until my outpatient doctor was so alarmed that i could not meet the criteria for release even from seclusion that she had a consultant meet with me in the absence of my in-patient doctor, and when she simply asked if i wanted to go home, i said, “yes,” and she proceeded to process my discharge. This was only 6 hours after having been released from 4-point restraints and directly from seclusion.

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

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

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2013

Hospital of Central Connecticut

Name of Facility: Hospital of Central Connecticut

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): New Britain, Connecticut, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was admitted involuntarily through the Emergency Department and kept in a video monitored room alone the entire four week stay, not permitted utensils to eat food with, bodily escorted to seclusion for “disturbing the milieu” on multiple occasions by guards who were instructed to “inflict pain in order to subdue” me quickly, even though i did not resist. Also on multiple occasions the nurses stripped me naked in seclusion and refused me any covering or blanket for warmth. When i resisted, the male guards 4-point restrained me, in a spread eagle position, to a gurney, still naked, and as was the procedure, injected me with three drugs in the buttocks. Then when i continued to ask to be covered, they put a draw sheet over me, but refused a blanket even though the nurses were shivering with the cold. When i complained about this treatment to the doctor, he said, “You are lying. They would never do that.” But in fact they did these things repeatedly and he was not there to witness it.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Mutism (chronic but intermittent)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2014

Cayuga Medical Center

Name of Facility: Cayuga Medical Center

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

Number of Stars: 3.5

Description of Experience: I was admitted that the adolescent’s ward in February of this year, and my experience was mostly positive. I was admitted for a gender dysphoria caused suicide attempt, and the nurses in the emergency room were very kind and polite. The questioning was long winded, but they managed to make it bearable. When I finally got into the waiting area for acceptance into the ward, I had all my current belongings checked (My shirt that said “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably just suck” was not allowed due to ‘rude messaging’ which I guess I understand) and I was given scrubs to wear for the time being. I waited for at least 5 hours alone to be moved.

When I finally got there, I was introduced to the nurse and tech, who were very nice. The schedule was filled with groups, but there was quite a bit of free time. We had two hours for schoolwork each day, and the school was contacted by the hospital for us. We met with the psychologist team everyday, and were given activities to prepare us for discharge. I stayed for about a week and two days, and my only complaints were that the staff yelled at me on the first few days for fidgeting via drawing, causing me to cry and breakdown. Their points system also meant that some nurses could give less points depending on if they liked you or not, which greatly affected what you were able to do. Also, we only went outside once, and it was incredibly claustrophobic inside the ward.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: Trans man, gay

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

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

Three Rivers Behavioral Health

Name of Facility: Three Rivers Behavioral Health

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): Columbia, SC, USA

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was brought here after my second suicide attempt. After being admitted, I spoke with the psychiatrist assigned to me. She was dismissive and despite my explanation that SSRI antidepressants did not work for me, she prescribed Prozac. The patient bill of rights states that anyone can refuse medication, but if you are here under involuntary commitment, refusal is counted as being non-compliant.

Throughout the stay my psych continued to be uncompromising and dismissive. The ward’s patient rights advocate also constantly sniped at me for not being cooperative enough. Said patient bill of rights also states that any patient has the right to an attorney if they choose…so I got one. The rights advocate yelled at me for it, told me it would do no good, and tried to bully me out of it.

Aside from daily group therapy and 1x week craft time, patients were not provided anything to do aside from smokers being able to go to a small outside area. Patients were not allowed to bring books or magazines because the staff said it would be too much work to check them for hidden drugs, razors, etc. This was very distressing as I and a few other patients were college students who could have used the copious free time to study.

When I got released, as this was my 2nd attempt, the rights advocate warned me that if there was ever a next time I would be “in for it.” Whatever that means.

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

Anything that might have impacted your stay? i.e. being LGBTQ+: autism spectrum (undiagnosed at the time)

Year(s) Your Experience(s) Occurred (i.e. 2015): 2011