What a Psychiatric Hospital is Like

hi everyone so today I want to talk a little bit more about what exactly it's like to be in a psychiatric ward or psychiatric hospital so I guess I just want to preface this by saying that these are my experiences or this is based off of my own experiences within psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric facilities and I know that it's not indicative of everyone's experience with these places I know that some people find a lot of Solace or comfort in psychiatric hospitals this however has not been my experience with it and so I'm just going to speak to that rather than speaking generally about everyone's experiences with it so I guess we can start off with how you end up in a psychiatric hospital so there are a few different routes that you can take to end up there but the primary one is being formed by a medical professional or doctor or psychiatrist where they basically write I think it's called a form 10 here in Canada which basically certifies you to require to be kept in the hospital until you've been examined by two psychiatrists to deem whether or not it is appropriate to keep you there or whether or not you can be discharged safely the other route that you can take is by being brought in by the police so if they pick you up on the streets or wherever because you are doing something unlawful or you're creating a disturbance of some sort or someone has just called out of concern for you or you've made a call out of concern for yourself the police can bring you to the hospital as well or the third Road is to just check yourself in so you can always go to the emergency room of a hospital and let them know that you're experiencing some concerns about your mental health or you're in the midst of psychosis or whatnot and you would like to be seen by a doctor there so once you've been taken to the hospital or you've arrived at the hospital the process of being admitted has been a little bit of a traumatic one for me so you often are kept within a special mental health waiting room which is not really a waiting room it's more of a holding cell basically where you have a bed sometimes or sometimes even just a chair and you're basically locked in a room with or under surveillance so somebody's always watching you and they take everything all your clothes they take your shoes they take your jewelry all of your personal items and you're just left to sit in this room basically until you're seen by a psychiatrist within this room I was also so I was suicidal at the time the last time that I was hospitalized and I was trying to appease the voices that I was hearing by any means possible that were telling me to take my own life and so I was trying to strangle myself with the hospital gown that I was wearing and so they saw this and immediately rushed in with several members of their staff and picked me up and threw me down onto the gurney that was in the room and strapped me down with the restraints and injected medicine against my will this was a really really traumatic experience and the whole thing was just generally fairly dehumanizing there have been times where I've been taken to the hospital where it was a little bit less eventful than this where I was kept in a I guess holding cell because that's what it kind of felt like where there was windows all around and just a bed and I was just being observed for it was actually over a day that I was kept like this before I was able to get a bed upstairs in the psychiatric ward so the experience of being admitted varies from hospital to hospital and it's different for everyone but these are some of my experiences with it so when you're actually in the psychiatric ward or Hospital routine is a really big part of your day so all the meals are scheduled to the minute basically there's also a specified bed time where lights are turned out and also wakeup time where you are essentially forced to get out of bed in the morning so routine is a really big part of your day-to-day life in a psychiatric ward it depends on what hospital you're at in terms of what therapy is offered or what activities are offered or group sessions are offered and so that engagement level can really differ a lot from hospital to hospital but it has been my experience to not have had too much involvement with that sort of thing which has been really hard because you get really I guess bored and idle sitting in the hospital with nothing really to do but to think basically it's part of this and part of just being locked in a place where you don't want to be that makes it feel a lot we're really similar to what I would imagine jail might be like so you're bunking with a lot of people you're being told what to do and when to do it you are not allowed to leave you can be kept in isolation if you're deemed to be acting out I have been put in isolation and when I was I was stripped naked of all my clothes and I was pinned to the ground by six hospital staff both nurses and security who then pinned me to the ground and administered meds against my will so it was just experiences like this that really kind of soured my opinion of psychiatric wards and psychiatric hospitals and I guess fed my opinion of always wanting to get out as early as I could so even when you want to leave as early as possible it can be really difficult to leave especially when you're deemed to be a risk to yourself or to others so every time I've been in the hospital I've contacted a patient rights advocate who is an external person who helps patients advocate for their rights within the hospital and for the right to leave if that's something that you're wanting to advocate for as well so every time I've been put up in front of a panel of psychiatrists and community members and whatnot who were meant to decide whether it was safe to be discharged or not for me every time they shot me down they said no every time but it's sometimes it works for patients but very rarely does it work usually they go with what the psychiatrist is recommending and if they want to keep you there then that's usually what they do something that I want to touch on though is the camaraderie I guess that can be forged when you're in a psychiatric facility so you're spending all this time with these other patients and so you you tend to bond a little over your shared experience and your share difficulties in terms of having visitors by friends and family there's usually visiting hours put in place for when they can visit I believe the last hospital I was at it was from four to eight o'clock p.m. in the afternoon or evening so again there's not really a lot to do throughout the day but then if you're lucky enough to have family and friends who are willing to come and visit you that's kind of something to look forward to in the evenings your sense of time and reality kind of gets warped a little bit in the hospital or in a psychiatric facility and things like snack time before bed become really pivotal periods throughout your day so it was something to look forward to because I was interacting with other patients and nurses during that time and it was just it was a high point of the day unfortunately or something to look forward to I guess a criticism or point of opportunity for improvement within psychiatric facilities would be to just um implement better programming to teach better life skills or too just refresh people on different life skills so this can include programming on things like taking care of yourself exercise proper nutrition basic finances just life coaching with a mental health focus just things like this that can really help a person to better integrate after they're released from the hospital so in terms of the actual discharge process I guess another criticism that I would have would be that there really needs to be a lot more planning and care given to making sure that supports are in place for patients when they're discharged from the hospital – in order to continue care within the community for me there was not a lot of discharge planning involved and so it was kind of like a bit like catch and release where I was just thrown back into the community with no real supports put in place after my discharge with the one exception being my last hospital stay where they referred me to a psychiatrist within the community but that was it and there was like a month wait so there wasn't really any immediate support given I don't have the exact statistics on hand but it has been shown by several studies repeatedly that people are at the highest risk for suicide immediately after they're discharged from a psychiatric institution or psychiatric hospital the increased risk period is primarily for three months after their hospitalization so I'm not really sure why we're not putting more effort into supporting these individuals who are reintegrating back into the community in order to reduce some of these suicide rates and some of these problems with reintegration back into the community so in summary I guess my experience with psychiatric facilities such as psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric wards has been a little bit more of a negative one and it's felt something like what I imagined jail might feel like this is a really far cry from the healing nature that hospitals should be encompassing especially psychiatric hospitals where people are requiring specialized supports in order to heal from their psychiatric problems so I hope this video helped to give some insight into what staying in a psychiatric facility is like again I want to reiterate that these are my own experiences with it and I know that it's not representative of everybody's experiences with psychiatric facilities but in my own experience I'm now working with my therapist and my psychiatrist to stay out of hospital as much as possible because it just hasn't been a good supportive environment for me in order to heal and deal with my mental illness so thank you so much for watching if you found this video helpful please give me a thumbs up and make sure to subscribe for future videos thanks again and have a great day bye thanks again for watching make sure to subscribe to see future videos and if you would like to help support the creation of these videos make sure to check out my patreon page the link is in the description below thanks again


  1. I just got diagnosed and I just want to say that I find your videos extremely helpful. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  2. You're very brave sharing your experience. I have a former client (a Flipino national, Canadian citizen) whose treatment in a psychiatric facility in your country was more traumatic than healing. The family decided at that time to bring him to the Philippines for short term treatment before going back to Canada. He responded well here and even visited a second time and he was doing quite well. Yes, I hope your story will be heard …

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I live in Idaho, USA and my psychiatric hospital experience was almost identical to yours. I am so sad to hear that you had this awful experience and then thrown back into the community with no professional support, as I was myself. There is so much more harm being done than good and it is so sad that these hospitals are where we are directed to or forced to go to when we just leave them more broken and vulnerable.

  4. Those places are all about money and don’t care about anything! You go there and sit like a prisoner and see a Dr. maybe for 2 minutes on your last day… it’s a huge joke!!

  5. I'm so sorry to hear you've had such traumatic and dehumanizing experiences in psychiatric hospitals. I am a music therapist intern on an inpatient psychiatric unit in the U.S. I'm very grateful for the programming put in place on the unit here. We have around 6 groups available to patients throughout the day, some of which include goal setting, creative arts, a psychoeducational group to help teach various skills, and a general recreation group. Patients are strongly encouraged to attend groups, but never forced. We also work with patients to set them up with outpatient therapy appointments, however we cannot control if they follow up with these appointments (which many of our chronically ill patients do not). While I don't know what the policy is if someone is actively trying to take their own life, as I have never experienced this, I do know that we try to avoid implementing medical and physical restraints as much as possible. While sometimes it does become necessary if a patient is a danger to themselves or others, we try to de-escalate situations before restraints are necessary. Even when medical and/or physical restraints are implemented, patients are told beforehand that these restraints will be implemented if their behaviors do not change. While I believe this is an appropriate policy, I can never come close to understanding what it is like to be on the receiving end of it. As part of my internship I have been doing a research project on music therapy and schizophrenia, and I have been following your videos from the beginning. I really appreciate getting the perspective of someone who is living with the disorder. It is also very heartwarming seeing someone with the disorder who is living a successful life, as I tend to work with many individuals who have chronic schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. Thank you so much for your videos and sharing your experiences.

  6. I truly understand your thought process behind making this video, but it worries me that people might see this and refuse to get help even more. I absolutely hate that you had such a bad experience. Luckily our generation is making more advancements in mental health with more funding and recognition. Not all psychiatric facilities are like this. I live in the states, more specifically North Carolina, and our state run facilities are top notch. I am in nursing school, and I have a huge passion for mental health. My time doing clinical at a facility here really solidified that for me. All of the patients I spoke to talked about how much they loved it there. Again, I don’t want this to come off as me being mean I just wanted to voice a concern that maybe you hadn’t thought of! Love your videos! I share them with a lot of my friends and family, so they can get a better understanding of mental health disorders!

  7. In Australia they have staff who've experienced mental illness. They believe that they have more understanding and therefore a greater sense of compassion. My experience was when they came to pick me up for an assessment that my parents requested one of them on the journey to the hospital was trying to dominate his colleague as he thought he was derailing. I was delusional at the time and personalized the game playing. While I was under observation I overheard the dominate one day on a phone call " he's mad " again I personalized it and I began to act out. Resentments are a big trigger for me. All I wanted was a cigarette and the dominate one kept telling me soon. I eventually just walked out for a cigarette, the dominate one then became anxious. I told him I'd be back after I'd finished. I came back and we purity was called. They kept a watchful eye on me from then until I was admitted. I was escorted by the two clinicians and two security officers two the holding ward. I tried to calmly walk away as I stated that I wanted a cigarette and all he'll broke loose. They all grabbed me and one of the security officers put me in a head lock. It still makes my blood boil. I'm get torn because I'm grateful today because I certainly needed help but it was like having feral dogs pissing on you marking their territory. Vile and disgusting creatures. That's part of my psychosis though. I think I'm superior to others and that I can manage life without meds. The gauntlet……. That's what the psychiatric field is like until you stabilize and find a sense of independence. Take care beautiful.

  8. I have only been admitted to a children's psych hospital. I have never been admitted to an adult psych hospital. I am paranoid schizophrenic.

  9. I am so sorry about these horrific experiences. I thought when you were trying to take your life with a hospital gown, they could have really spent time talking with you instead of slamming you down. Being stripped naked sounds traumatizing too. It sounds like you can be admitted against your will and end up coming out with ptsd too. I have been admitted myself and prefer to suffer alone with it than speak up and end up in a hospital. I was definitely traumatized and still have had permenant injuries from my time in there. Thanks for giving an honest view of your experiences though it sounds like it was probably a really hard thing to do.

  10. Hi Lauren! Your courage to create awareness about this topic is awesome! MY RESPECTS FOR YOU.
    Now: I got a question for you: according with an Apache chaman that was taken to a psychiatric hospital he saw a lot of healers and people with great gifts that can help people but all the power was out of control and they never received the education about their powers, that's why they act like crazy or insane: too much power and no info on how to use it… It is my idea that schizophrenic people just got the "brain" connected in such a way that you can feel or sense voices of beings from another dimensions… I'd love to talk more deep with you, to share thoughts and so… Hope you agree… [email protected] hope you agree and… You're beautiful!! Greetings

  11. My brother was in an institution, and I was his legal guardian at the time. I was so lost with what you do. Social workers became involved, and it was a disaster from the time we left the emergency room. I had no idea where to even start. The institution did way more damage than good. It took away his rights and mine as well. There was not a clear transition plan when we got home. There was no information for me on where to go next. It took endless phone calls.. time.. expensive appointments and many many different psychologist and doctors for him to get the help he needed. It was so traumatic for me but especially for him. He still to this day has horrible nightmares about being locked up. I wish I had this video at the time… I felt so alone in my journey to help him… I thought places that that were only there to help.. not to lock people up… thank you for sharing this. I understand how difficult that experience was for my brother, so I can't imagine what it would feel like to be in a psychiatric facility. Hopefully there can be some positive changes in the future but I feel like we are far from it.

  12. Been there, done that almost 30 years ago. Not pleasant but I realized the other patients were human like me. I learned not to accept the stigma attached to it. Best Wishes!

  13. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. The US has mental health management problem too that is not really being address. I think your videos really help destigmatize your condition and brings a more human perspective. I agree with you, I don't understand why the is no sufficient investment, and a more humane approach when people are at their most vulnerable.

  14. You say they gave you medicine against your will. What other choice did they have, you were trying to harm yourself. Are you able to work and drive?

  15. My mother was a paranoid schizophrenic, she didn't go into details but she did not like being in the hospital. When I visited her it was scary, had a bad feeling about that place. I was very young so that didn't help.

  16. After being hospitalized 3 times in the 90s, many years later on reflection, I noticed the atmosphere is lighter, the pressure is lower, inside a psychiatric or "behavioral" clinic. The best illustration is a fact, in this case. Simply that I slept on my back for about 2 weeks, the first time in the hospital, all the while making calls every day to get myself out of there. At that time I was not at all ever sleeping on my back. So, I want to ask you to revisit your experiences in this way, maybe after a year or so. You might find a plain way that puts light on a part of the process that will help those of us who feel it's the stigma alone that keeps them from going in voluntarily. I think it's a good idea for inpatient care already. I say to you because you're likely to have a growing audience as well as people looking for answers "in the heat of the moment" that this part addresses. Thank you.

  17. OMG! I have had similar experiences! I am in the U.S and I have gone to hospitals willingly and I have been 302'd (involuntarily committed). I always say that going in is like signing your life away. It's incredibly and tortuously boring especially on the weekend. They expect you to stay out of your room and interact but after 4pm all you can do is basically watch tv or color. I don't like either one of those things. There area of the hospital for psychiatric emergencies that I have been to is just like you describe it. I have seen videos from people in the UK and Australia and some things are very different like being allowed to have electronics, length of stay, and involuntary commitments. It's very interesting. Thanks for posing this honest and frank account of your hospital experience.

  18. Some criminals have remote mind control technology. Research V2K or Voice-to-Skull technology. You may be a victim. It is a technology that is being denied. Police and the FBI are not able to help. You may want to look up targeted individuals to determine if you are one.

    Pay no attention to this "Smiles" guy. He is either uneducated on this topic or here to spread disinformation.

  19. In the USA the main emphasis is on preventing suicide rather than creating an overall therapeutic environment, and it sounds like Canada is the same. The activities provided are often a joke — adults spending their hours on coloring books????

  20. 🙏 thank you .the Best things for any mental illness is Gluten free please stay away from any Gluten witch doctor won’t tell you .95/ improving + dairy free

  21. Thanks for sharing! You are beautiful and sharing so compassionately on a topic we all want to understand more on.

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience. We need to start a conversation about how people sufferinng with mental illness are treated. As a child I received unhuman treatments… It felt like we were criminals rather than patients.

  23. God Bless you Ms. Lauren. You are Wonderful. i have had bad experiences in psychiatric wards. Thanks so much for your in-depth explanation of your experiences. Bravo! our mom was treated the way you describe in that she was handled roughly and given meds against her will. i myself did not resist the nurses and security when they were giving me meds as i was scared of them so i complied. i know the horrific feeling of hearing voices and feeling suicidal so i am so sorry of what you have gone through 🙁 You are beautiful and wise and honest <3 <3 <3 God Loves you profoundly. SVP, ask God to Help You in your thoughts/prayers, if you like. You can say this, "In the Name of Christ, in The Name of God, i Command that all demons/dark entities that are tormenting me to leave my body and premises right now, and go towards The Light for your Salvation. Yah Ali (or Amin/Amen)". if the above passage distresses you in any way, feel totally ok to delete and remove this comment. i intend well, and although i am on Injectable Fluanxol (R) IntraMuscular Depot shots (15mg) every 2 weeks (given in alternating deltoid shoulder muscles)), i still pray to God and am glad Christ/God has saved me through Divine Intervention, my Angelic sister and great doctors and nurses have also helped me, although many times the doctors did not listen to my concerns of distressful medication side effects 🙁 i agree that nurses and security guards handle patients too roughly and should be more gentle and kind and speak more calmly and logically with patients, rather than the rough handling that occurs, which i have also experienced 🙁 One thing i recommended hospitals do is to paint landscape sceneries, such as grass, flowers, trees, blue skies, sun, clouds, and trees in the 'holding cells', while the patient is being monitored. it would be more humane, natural setting, and less cold and daunting environment to us while we are being monitored. God Bless, Protect, Heal and Show You The Way Beautiful, Sweet, Wonderful, Wise and Kind Ms. Lauren <3 <3 <3 This has been my experience.
    on a totally different topic, i just saw this cute and hilarious video you may enjoy:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFYxRp9K9L4 … titled, "Chicken Plays Operatic Aria on Piano Keyboard", whereby an actual chicken plays basic piano on an electronic keyboard with the help of keys that light up on the keyboard :)))

  24. Legit. In all the emergency rooms I've been in, they take me to the psychiatric area where they put us in "holding cells" for a few hours or days. No windows, dim lighting, no clocks, no one to talk to. Luckily I was only in these areas for a few hours and was able to sleep through the time there. I've met patients who were there for 3 days (for some reason).

  25. Hello Lauren,

    I will be 66 in July but I was hospitalised for the first time in May 1987 aged 33 here in Dublin where I was injected with a massive overdose of a drug called Largactil with the chemical name chlorpromazine and when the psychiatrist withdrew the hypodermic syringe from my right buttock my life ended when the drug got to work immediately rewiring my brain. I was subsequently hospitalised two more times October 1988 in Allentown Pennsylvania and November 2007 back here in Dublin. However I must say that now at long last I feel well and happy but I take a drug called Dolmatil with the chemical name sulpiride every day when thank God I do not suffer any felt side effects by taking this drug. I was treated gently and with care in Allentown State Hospital. That campus is up for sale now for a few years I think. Google if you feel like it.
    I rate the psychiatrist who injected me with Largactil that I think is called Thorazine in the States as a criminal. However I am wired or made to feel deeply that there is a Creator – God – and I can easily feel now that all will work out for me according to a greater plan. It's not that everything that will happen tomorrow is known even to God The One but still a lot is known about what will happen in the future near and far.
    I understand everything you said in your wonderful video but I might add that I had stress induced psychosis. 
    I see some nice comments below about others' experiences and I think the doctors are trying to improve everything. For example when I was hospitalised for that third time and I hope and pray the last time I had to sit just like you before a panel of people with my psychiatrist there too making the case that I was at that time not well enough to be discharged. At that time I was on olanzapine with the trade name Zyprexa and overdosed in the ratio of 4 to 1. I was even represented by a lawyer or solicitor who just showed up and attended the assessment and I never saw him again after that. It goes without saying that psychiatrists have a lot to learn. For example they are wholly mistaken to think that mental illness happens when our brains become diseased. This is far from the reality when our entire body is involved especially in my case in my core the muscles round my stomach where I am convinced our center really is.
    You can tell I could just keep on writing and I would love to make it known publicly what that criminal psychiatrist did to me in May 1987.
    You are much younger than I am and still you have had a very painful experience in a psychiatric hospital in modern times in Canada a country I feel is that bit gentler in nature to other developed countries.
    If I had my way and based on my own experience I would fire half of all psychiatric doctors and nurses even today in 2019.

    All the best,

    Peter Nolan. Ph.D.(physics). Dublin. Ireland.

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