News Articles on Heritage Oaks Hospital

Name of Facility: Heritage Oaks Hospital

Location: Sacramento, CA, USA


St. Mary’s Medical Center

Name of Facility: St. Mary’s Medical Center – adolescent

Location of Facility (City, State/Province, Country): San Francisco, California, United States

Number of Stars: 4

Description of Experience: Stayed for about a week. All the patients were pretty chill, we spent most of the time playing games. The therapy consisted of playing games, drawing and talking about our feelings. It was a unisex ward.

I was pretty paranoid about the Illuminati at the time so I had some interesting conversations with staff members.

There was outdoor time in this little basketball court with netting to keep people from escaping. There was also all the books and puzzles you could want. The rooms were nice too, but the doors were kinda weird.

Food was horrible.

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

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

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

Sharp Mesa Vista

Name of Hospital: Sharp Mesa Vista

City, State/Province, Country: San Diego, CA, United States

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: My experience at this facility was extremely traumatic. I had initially intended to go through with an outpatient program, but after doing my intake, the nurse decided that inpatient would be the better option. Next thing I knew, I was being juggled from one nurse to the next, eventually ending up in a small room where I was strip searched. They proceeded to forget my name, confuse me with other patients, and consistently fail to arrange my mandatory meeting with the psychiatrist. If anything, my time there was re-traumatizing.

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

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

Year(s) : 2014

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.


Center for Discovery (Whittier)

Name of Hospital: Center For Discovery (Whittier)

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

Number of Stars: 1

Comment: I was transferred from a hospital to their inpatient teen mental health program, all of the patients were minors. It is set in a large house, with two person bedrooms, not enough showers, an open sitting area with couches, a large dining room, a kitchen, an outside courtyard, and the little room where you saw the psychiatrist. The food was sometimes really good, usually not. They took trips a couple times a week to the park, library, or gym.

I had to strip naked as the first step to being admitted. They strip searched everyone everyday, some people many times in a day (i.e. every hour). They search your belonging in your room multiple times a day. There are treatment-related activities 6-8 hours a day, which you are forced to actively participate in, unless you wanted them to lower your rating (you were given a 1-4 rating that could be changed at any time by any staff member, and these determined your privileges). Their psychiatrist might see you once a week, and almost everyone was heavily (and excessively) medicated. There about half as many staff as there are residents, at least 10 staff on the floor at all times.

The staff gives little to no respect, acknowledgement, or care to the patients. a vast majority of male staff members were aggressive and would often wake people (including myself) up by violently shaking, slapping, hitting them, and yelling at them. If they had to restrain someone, they often hit them, choked them, and often used excessive force in general.

The staff as a whole forced patients into every activity, even (and especially) activities that caused the patient distress. They monitored you 24/7 and needed to hear every sentence said. Whispering not allowed. They would confiscate (steal is the correct word) notes from other residents if they found one in your belongings. The staff would often threaten to lengthen your stay. You were not allowed phone calls until you reached level 4, I think. Few ever reached level 4.

I left far worse than when I came in. I believe most of the patients did.

I was assaulted by staff, consistently verbally abused, over medicated, forced to conform, and forced into treatment.

In my humble opinion, shut CFD down before more people get hurt.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: minor (under 18)

Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital

Name of Hospital: Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital (UCLA)

City, State/Province, Country: Los Angeles, California, USA

Number of Stars: 1.5

Comment: I was admitted voluntarily (with a 72hr hold) for suicidal ideation when I was a minor.

The floor staff was intensely controlling, as well as manipulative to serve that end (attaining a “controlled environment”). The nurses openly refused rights, even ones that were listed on the walls, and would deliberately ignore patients’ concerns, often acting in complete, unapologetic opposition to them. In a sweeping and general sense, the ward was watched over like a kindergarten classroom, differences being they did everything they could to hear every conversation and every word between patients, there was a much higher supervisor-to-peer ratio, and most of the medical staff seemed to avidly dislike the patients.


10% of nurses – were capable and respectful
90% of nurses – were severely incapable and disrespectful

The psychiatrists I saw were mostly annoyed with the fact they worked there in the first place, which for the patients means apathy and unwillingness to help. The head psychiatrist outright did not believe I should have ever been in the hospital the first place. They pressured me into taking medications (as well as to increase my dosages once on it), when at the time, I did not want to. I reacted negatively to every drug they had me try with only a single exception. I wasn’t allowed to switch doctors, and the one I was stuck with and I both agreed his skillset did not match what I was in need of. The standard patient timeline, as far as their psychiatrists seemed to care was: Get in, take the drugs, then to get out as soon as possible.
The social workers were extremely reluctant to do anything for anyone. Their power seemed to be limited heavily by doctor’s opinions and decisions. The staff members that were not doctors or nurses (i.e. their music teacher, art room directors, etc.) were for the most part, kind, understanding, and respectful to the patients.)

There was deck time (“outside”) and it was listed as a right and treated as a privilege . The food was better than average as far as hospitals go. There was a day room/dining room, a hallway, and five or six rooms, all constantly monitored. There was a small fitness room, an art room, a music teacher and a recreation coordinator. Most of the time on the ward is spent in the dayroom with the staff doing mindfulness exercises (there were CBT exercises or other non-mindfulness related activities, though mindfulness is their core philosophy.

I personally view this as negative, because mindfulness, there, was not a word in its own right, but had become a simplistic way of writing off any issues the patients had involving their own brains. (i.e. If a patient states they feel they might have a panic attack if they continue with one of the activities for that day, the nurses would say something like “Just be mindful of the things around you, focus on your breathing; you’ll feel better,” and often refuse to accept an alternative solution, or even that the patient might not have enough or even any power over their mental state.)

Facilities, food, nonmedical aspects – 1 out of 1 stars.
Overall healthcare – 0.5 out of 4 stars
TOTAL=1.5 out of 5 stars

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: being under 18 seemed to allow the staff to, easily, restrict my rights and ignore my concerns