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

Palmetto Health Baptist Columbia

Name of Facility: Palmetto Health Baptist

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

Number of Stars: 1

Description of Experience: I was committed here for my first suicide attempt, and it was my first experience being treated involuntarily for any psych issue. I was admitted to the ward at night and I was anxious, confused, and terrified. A nurse yelled at me and threatened to “send me upstairs where the dangerous ones are.” She held me down, stripped me to take pictures of my self harm scars and cuts, and tranq’d me. I was given my underwear and a hospital gown. The next day, the nurses would not give me my clothes back even though other patients wore street clothes. I was constantly told to stop asking and that I could only have them if I was “good.”

Only one of the nurses was very kind and seemed to care and listen. The psychiatrists, including the one assigned to me, generally seemed to not care much about what the patients were saying and needed.

I was here for about a week, and to this day it’s one of the scariest and most humiliating experiences of my life.

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

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)

Marshall Pickens

Name of Hospital: Marshall Pickens

City, State/Province, Country: Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Number of Stars: 2

Comment: I got into an argument with my uncle, who called the police on me for screaming at him (and then my grandmother when she told me to shut up). I didn’t make any threats, though several were made against me. Because I was living in my grandmother’s home, the police came and told me to keep my nose in my own business.

At the time the police arrived I was hurting myself. It took them a while to realize what I was trying to accomplish, but once they did, they manhandled me into the living room and called the EMTs on me. The EMTs put me in the ambulance, shoved an IV in my foot, and took me to the closest ER with an attached mental health hospital, Marshall Pickens.

While I was recovering in the ER, a social worker approached me, dismissed the family members who had gathered, and began berating me for, quote unquote, “allowing myself to be a victim”. I broke down into tears again and tried to explain what was going on at home, and she seemed to understand more. She talked me into agreeing to the inpatient program for a few days, at least to “get away” from the nonsense going on at home (I would later find out my uncle was trying to get me committed for no less than a month, and that my commitment was still counted as involuntary).

I met a few nice people in the ward, and the psychiatrist helped me get back on antidepressants. However, there were a few issues that made me desperate to get out.

1. There was no treatment offered specific to my needs. I live in an abusive household and had attempted suicide once before, but everything was “group therapy” with videos and half-hearted DBT journals.

2. I was warned by an orderly not to drink the milk in the Ward’s snack room or from the lunchroom. When I asked why, he said that they tend to leave drink deliveries out for hours before putting them away, and people have gotten sick off it. I did try a chocolate milk, and had to throw half of it away due to the odd taste.

3. The food choices were limited and constantly changing. Some meals I went without eating because I couldn’t find anything that I could stomach. They would heap butter on all of the toast, which turned me off the toast, but we weren’t allowed to have sugary sodas (aspartame gives me migraines and tastes disgusting to me). I have a relatively limited range in what I can eat, despite years of personal effort to increase the number of foods I can stomach; it’s just a fact of life for me. When I asked if it’d be possible to get food from the food court, they flatly told me no and to hurry up and eat something.

4. I was not allowed to have my phone or other personal effects. Neither of my brothers had their licenses, and my girlfriend and best friend both live in other states. I had no way to communicate with people who cared about me and we’re concerned about me until I managed to remember my grandmother’s phone number and begged her for my brother’s phone number.

5. Without my phone, I also had no way to distract me during the long hours between sessions and after meals. I read as much as I could, but I really wanted to speak to my friends and the choices of leisure activities were limited, to say the least.

It was overall an unpleasant experience. It took hours to get released due to still being considered ‘involuntary’ and having to wait for the magistrate to sign off on it. I got nothing out of the sessions except a wish to escape and a slight breather from my abusive family.

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

Any other identities/marginalizations (i.e. race/gender/sexuality) that could have influenced your stay?: Read as cis female (I’m nonbinary but not out)

Year(s) : 2016

News Articles on Palmetto Pee Dee Behavioral Health

Name of hospital/facility: Palmetto Pee Dee Behavioral Health

Location: Florence, SC, USA